1 STATE OF FLORIDA
CONSTITUTION REVISION COMMISSION
DATE: January 26, 1998
TIME: Commenced at 1:00 p.m.
11 Concluded at 6:10 p.m.
12 PLACE: The Senate Chamber
13 Tallahassee, Florida
14 REPORTED BY: KRISTEN L. BENTLEY
JULIE L. DOHERTY, RPR
15 MONA L. WHIDDON
16 Division of Administrative Hearings
The DeSoto Building
17 1230 Apalachee Parkway
2 W. DEXTER DOUGLASS, CHAIRMAN
3 CARLOS ALFONSO
CLARENCE E. ANTHONY
4 ANTONIO L. ARGIZ (ABSENT)
JUDGE THOMAS H. BARKDULL, JR.
5 MARTHA WALTERS BARNETT
6 ROBERT M. BROCHIN
THE HONORABLE ROBERT A. BUTTERWORTH
7 KEN CONNOR
CHRIS CORR (EXCUSED)
8 SENATOR ANDER CRENSHAW (ABSENT)
9 MARILYN EVANS-JONES
BARBARA WILLIAMS FORD-COATES
10 ELLEN CATSMAN FREIDIN
11 WILLIAM CLAY HENDERSON
THE HONORABLE TONI JENNINGS
12 THE HONORABLE GERALD KOGAN (EXCUSED)
DICK LANGLEY (ABSENT)
13 JOHN F. LOWNDES
14 JACINTA MATHIS
JON LESTER MILLS
15 FRANK MORSANI (ABSENT)
ROBERT LOWRY NABORS
16 CARLOS PLANAS (EXCUSED)
JUDITH BYRNE RILEY
17 KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE
SENATOR JIM SCOTT
18 H. T. SMITH
ALAN C. SUNDBERG (EXCUSED)
19 JAMES HAROLD THOMPSON
20 JUDGE GERALD T. WETHERINGTON
STEPHEN NEAL ZACK
IRA H. LEESFIELD (ABSENT)
22 LYRA BLIZZARD LOGAN
2 (Roll taken and recorded electronically.)
3 SECRETARY BLANTON: All commissioners indicate your
4 presence, all unauthorized visitors please leave the
5 chamber. All commissioners indicate your presence.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I wonder if you would cast word
7 around that we need everybody to get in the chamber. We
8 don't have enough yet so we don't have to clear the
9 chamber yet. I wonder if everybody that hasn't signed in
10 that's on the floor, please sign in.
11 SECRETARY BLANTON: Quorum present, Mr. Chairman.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. If everybody would
13 take their seats, please. And all unauthorized persons,
14 please leave the chamber. And have a seat and we will
15 start the session.
16 Commissioner Nabors, would you-all have a seat,
17 please, you and Commissioner Brochin. Will the
18 Commissioners and guests please rise for the opening
19 prayer given today by the Reverend Jerry Knight, pastor of
20 Lakewood Baptist Church in Tallahassee. Reverend Knight.
21 REVEREND KNIGHT: Let us pray together. Our Father,
22 we are grateful to thee for thy goodness to us and for
23 this good day you have shared with us. We thank you,
24 Lord, for your death, your burial, your resurrection.
25 Thank you for the privilege to be here today with these
1 friends who represent our community, our governments.
2 We are admonished in your word to pray for those who
3 are over us in governmental authority. And, Father, we do
4 on a regular basis. We pray your blessings upon the
5 session today, bless each one represented, give wisdom,
6 give direction. We thank thee again for what thou dost
7 mean to us. In Jesus' name, Amen.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Would Allison Freidin and
9 Jonathan Freidin please come lead us in the pledge of
10 allegiance to the flag.
11 (Pledge of allegiance.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Those are the children of
13 Commissioner Freidin and they are here from Miami and we
14 are delighted to have them. Also this morning, I would
15 like for the following pages that are serving us today
16 from Belle Vue Middle School to come up front and stand as
17 I call your name and we will introduce you.
18 Marisha Ash, Marisha is coming over here, Kailah
19 Berigan, Farrah Cannon, Rachel Glenn, Lauren Hayman, Tara
20 Merck, and a young man who informed me that he was going
21 to be Governor some day, or sent me word, and he seems to
22 be on the right track, he is the only male representative
23 in this group, Stanford Thomas. Stanford, future
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Stanford, since you want to be
2 Governor, you come up here with me a minute. I want
3 everybody to get a good look at you. Tell everybody
5 MASTER THOMAS: Hello.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Anything else you want to say,
8 MASTER THOMAS: I'm glad to be here.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: For the benefit of the members,
11 you have a button on your desk there that says page. And
12 any time you need a Coke or anything, push the button and
13 one of these fine young people will come take care of your
14 needs. They are going to get a photograph, then we will
16 All right. I recognize Commissioner Barkdull,
17 Chairman of Rules. Commissioner Barkdull.
18 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
19 Members of the Commission. You have on your desk a
20 proposed calendar which tracks this book which was sent to
21 you in the mail. You will also -- or Fed Ex'd to you.
22 You will also find the same book on your desk, they are no
23 different, it is the same volume. I ask you to hang on to
24 these books because I don't anticipate that we will finish
25 these proposals today and they will recur probably
1 sometime either tomorrow or Wednesday. And you will need
2 the packet to refer back to.
3 The meeting schedule is on the front page of the
4 calendar for the week. I call your attention to the fact
5 that there are committee meetings scheduled for tomorrow
6 afternoon, Finance and Tax, and the Select Committee on
7 Initiatives, which are 5:00 or when we adjourn tomorrow.
8 The calendar that you received a month or so ago that
9 indicated the schedule for February and March of the
10 commission has been altered somewhat and you will
11 receive -- new calendars will be placed on your desk for
12 February and March and the remainder of the spring,
13 either -- probably tomorrow.
14 The public hearings which are referred to, they were
15 the major change. There was a move of one day in the
16 first one. The material that was distributed to your
17 offices last week did not have the telephone numbers on
18 them, they will be distributed to you before the session
19 ends, probably tomorrow.
20 I call your attention again that if you have any
21 proposals that you are contemplating withdrawing, you make
22 a note to yourself about it and do it at the conclusion of
23 today. Several members have already talked to me about
24 other proposals that they will move to withdraw at the
25 conclusion of the calendar.
1 We are scheduled to go until 6:00 tonight. At the
2 moment I am not prepared to announce that there will be a
3 Rules Committee. There will be a further announcement on
4 that later on in the session. But at the present time I
5 have no further announcements and the special order is
6 available and on your desk.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Very well. Then we will proceed
8 to the special order. First, matters on reconsideration.
9 Proposal 91 by Commissioner Hawkes is on reconsideration.
10 It failed and there was a motion to reconsider by
11 Commissioner Barnett, which was adopted. And it was then
12 reconsidered and committed to style and drafting and now
13 there is a pending motion to reconsider by Commissioner
14 Mills. Commissioner Mills.
15 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, I don't think
16 Mr. Hawkes is on the floor, so perhaps we shouldn't bring
17 up the reconsideration until he gets here.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well that's an option. On the
19 other hand, if you have got the votes, you might want to
20 go forward.
21 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well we like to be fair.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think he is here in town, I saw
23 him this morning. Here he is. No, that's Commissioner
24 Alfonso. Tell him to get off the telephone back there --
25 here he comes. He is here, go ahead.
1 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, Mr. Chairman, there were
2 some questions raised about the actual impact of
3 Commissioner Hawkes' proposal and my motion to reconsider
4 was to allow us to raise those issues and allow
5 Commissioner Hawkes to further clarify that. And at this
6 point I think we probably just want Commissioner Hawkes to
7 do that.
8 The reason I moved to reconsider was that my
9 understanding of the purpose was to provide tax breaks for
10 the utilization of pollution control devices. The
11 technical issues that were raised were, did the wording
12 actually, because of the way it described certain devices,
13 which are used by utilities, did it actually end up
14 raising taxes by including devices which had not otherwise
15 been included. And Commissioner Thompson has a set of
16 questions on that.
17 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Mr. Chairman --
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you yield?
19 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I do.
20 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: -- I have a question for
21 Mr. Mills, and Mr. Hawkes is now back in the chamber.
22 Would you have any objection, if it is okay with
23 Commissioner Hawkes, to let's temporarily pass
24 consideration of this, Mr. Chairman, and we will get back
25 to it at a time when maybe we three can agree to do that?
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, we will
2 temporarily pass it until later in this meeting.
3 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well, we might want to put it
4 off indefinitely, until some of us bring it up. Thank
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. I'd like to resolve
7 this. It is not one of the major issues we are
8 considering, but we don't want to tie ourselves down with
9 these type issues. Okay?
10 All right. On Proposal 107 by Commissioner Connor,
11 it was disapproved by the committee on the Declaration of
12 Rights and it failed. And a pending motion to consider by
13 Commissioner Argiz, who is not here. Would you read that
14 so we will know what we are talking about?
15 READING CLERK: Proposal 107, a proposal to revise
16 Article I, Florida Constitution; providing that the State
17 Constitution does not restrict the right of parents to
18 consent to medical treatment for their minor children.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Connor,
20 you rise to speak. This was your proposal, which lost,
21 and was moved for reconsideration by Commissioner Argiz.
22 We are now on reconsideration.
23 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: As you can tell, Mr. Chairman,
24 Commissioner Argiz is not here and I would simply request
25 that we temporarily pass consideration of this matter at
1 this time.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, it is passed,
3 temporarily passed I should say. Commissioner Scott.
4 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, so that we are in
5 the right posture on this Proposal 91 by Commissioner
6 Hawkes, what we really should do is go ahead and adopt the
7 motion to reconsider so that it is reconsidered and then
8 it can be temporarily passed and be back before us.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I was going to suggest that, but
10 that's why I said we had better get back to it today. But
11 with that in mind, all in favor of the motion to
12 reconsider, say aye; opposed?
13 (Verbal vote taken.)
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It will be on reconsideration and
15 that will give you time to work on this and it will take
16 care of it for the moment. We will defer further
17 consideration of it at this time.
18 And now we will move to the proposed special order
19 for this week and the first item, the first one on the
20 special order is Proposal 134 by Commissioner Marshall,
21 which has not been acted on, but has been withdrawn by the
22 Committee on Legislative. Would you read it, please?
23 READING CLERK: Proposal 134, a proposal to revise
24 Article III, Section 3, Florida Constitution; providing
25 for length of regular legislative sessions.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Marshall, you are
2 recognized to present this proposal.
3 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Mr. Chairman, I thought this
4 had been withdrawn, it apparently has not been, I wish to
5 do that now.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, Proposal
7 No. 134 by Commissioner Marshall is withdrawn.
8 Proposal No. 90 is the next proposal by Commissioner
9 Hawkes, referred to Committee on Legislative and was
10 withdrawn without recommendation or action. Would you
11 read it, please?
12 READING CLERK: Proposal 90, a proposal to revise
13 Article III, Section 4, Florida Constitution; providing
14 members of the Legislature with immunity with respect to
15 any speech or debate in either house of the Legislature.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Hawkes, you are
18 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
19 Members, this proposal was suggested to me by one of the
20 general counsels who felt that our Constitution was
21 lacking because we do not have this provision in it. It
22 is copied from the U.S. Constitution, and basically the
23 Florida Supreme Court has allowed this to take place
24 anyway, but we really didn't have any constitutional
25 footing. So I view this as kind of a technical amendment
1 that could be included, if we do one, in the technical
2 provisions' part of our proposals.
3 And unless there are some questions, I would ask for
4 your favorable consideration. Thank you.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills. Do you yield
6 to Commissioner Mills? He yields.
7 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Hawkes, I am trying to
8 recall the case. It seems to me that the Supreme Court
9 said there was not a speech and debate clause, but did
10 accord some privilege; is that correct?
11 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: Yes, that's my understanding is
12 that, and they indicated that there was this lacking. And
13 this is just to provide that so when a member is on the
14 floor, he would have the same protections as what most of
15 us assume he would have anyway. And that they have been
16 granted by the court in specific cases.
17 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Does the statement "privilege
18 from arrest" relate to anything other than conduct on the
20 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: No, it would not.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott.
22 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, at the Legislative
23 Committee I think we did not get a quorum when this came
24 up, is the chairman's recollection. But in any event,
25 there was some serious question raised about whether we
1 want to have on the ballot something that says that
2 legislators are privileged from arrest.
3 I mean, I think -- at least I did, and I think the
4 ones present agreed with the idea of the speech and
5 debate, but they were concerned about the way -- this is
6 out of the Federal Constitution, which we think this needs
7 a little bit of work here before we would vote to go
8 forward with something that says legislators are
9 privileged from arrest.
10 What we really want to address is the Girardeau case,
11 the former senator who was called and asked, and was
12 questioned about his proposal and how whatever happened on
13 the floor of the Senate. So I think we did not -- this
14 matter just came out of committee because that was the
15 last meeting.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott, I think your
17 comments should refer everybody to the summary that's in
18 your red packet, to No. 90. The case that's referred to
19 was not a Florida Supreme Court case, it was a First
20 District Court of Appeal, it was Girardeau versus State.
21 The case you are referring to, is it. And it also points
22 out that there is federal case law by the U.S. Supreme
23 Court and also that's a common law doctrine that had never
24 been fully defined, as it is pointed out.
25 The one other comment that I think Commissioner
1 Hawkes would have mentioned to you, that a similar
2 proposal was placed on the ballot in 1984 and it was
3 defeated by the electors 2,216,910 to 1,110,743. So if
4 there is some idea that this isn't controversial, at least
5 it was in 1984.
6 I only ask that you read this because I'm assuming
7 that everybody is reading the summaries that are provided
8 to you that are before you. Now Commissioner Hawkes,
9 after we have emasculated your proposal, would you like to
10 say something else?
11 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: Well, Mr. Chairman, it was not
12 intended as any greater protection than they cannot be
13 arrested for what they say on the floor. And Commissioner
14 Connor made a suggestion that if it was set off by commas,
15 put a comma after the word "arrest" and after the word
16 "place," and style and drafting can certainly do that, it
17 is just to provide the debate protection. It was viewed
18 as relatively uncontroversial in my book, but if the
19 commission doesn't want to do it, I understand that too,
20 Mr. Chairman.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'm going to ask Commissioner
22 Thompson, weren't in the Legislature in 1984?
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: (Nods affirmatively.)
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And Commissioner Mills and also
25 Commissioner Scott. Do you-all remember this, it came
1 from the Legislature, this proposal?
2 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I remember the Girardeau
3 case. I don't remember.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills? Do you
5 remember this proposal that's mentioned here --
6 COMMISSIONER MILLS: (Indicates negatively.)
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- that was defeated by 2 million
8 to 1 million? It was similar because I'd like to know if
9 anybody has looked at the exact proposal. All right.
10 Well that's all right. If I'm the only one that has a
11 question, I don't guess it matters. All right. Any
12 further debate? Commissioner Wetherington.
13 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Well assuming that the
14 people, as you correctly stated, voted on it in 1984,
15 common law recognizes a privilege, which the Supreme Court
16 has affirmed, what's the necessity?
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Your question is addressed to the
18 sponsor, Commissioner Hawkes?
19 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Yes, it is.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Hawkes, do you want
21 to respond to that?
22 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: I just think it is better if we
23 have the actual footing in place and not ask the court to
24 reach out and do things that they think ought to be there
25 and maybe people intended to be there but aren't really
1 there. And it just seemed to make sense that way.
2 I would submit that if it was controversial in '84,
3 if that's when it came up, it was perhaps because people
4 didn't understand it. And if they don't understand it,
5 experience tells us they tend to vote against it.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Commissioner Barkdull.
7 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, members of the
8 commission, I certainly think that members of the
9 Legislature ought to have all the protections in debate
10 and discussions because they ought to have no -- nothing
11 should be a chilling effect on them expressing their
13 But as pointed out by Commissioner Wetherington, I
14 think the protection is there now. And I have got to say,
15 as I have looked at what we have already passed and what
16 we are about to consider in the days to come, I am
17 concerned about us getting a Christmas tree out there of
18 proposals. And because I have not seen an overwhelming
19 need for this, I am reluctant to vote for it at this time
20 and I will vote against it.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any further debate? Okay, open
22 the machine and we will vote.
23 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
1 READING CLERK: Four yeas and 23 nays, Mr. Chairman.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The proposal fails. We will go
3 to the next proposal, 105, by Commissioner Planas.
4 Commissioner Planas called me or called the office this
5 morning and he has gone to the doctor. He has been having
6 some medical problems, as most of you may know. He is
7 going to try to get here today sometime, but he is not
8 sure. Commissioner Scott.
9 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, I would move that
10 we temporarily pass this matter until he is, if he is
11 going to be here sometime this week because there are some
12 questions that we discussed in committee and we are going
13 to have to have him here to agree to whatever version the
14 members might ask questions about who is included and who
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, it will be
17 temporarily passed pending the presence of Commissioner
18 Planas at a reasonable time, which would be like this
19 week. This proposal relates to term limits for State
20 Senators and Representatives. And as Commissioner Scott
21 points out, the committee did not have an opportunity to
22 recommend on this because of the lack of quorum. Without
23 objection it is temporarily passed.
24 Our next proposal is 178 [sic] by Commissioner
25 Thompson. And it was also not acted on by the committee
1 for lack of a quorum and it is referred to the calendar.
2 Would you read the Proposal No. 179, please.
3 READING CLERK: Proposal 179, a proposal to revise
4 Article III, Sections 8 and 19, Florida Constitution;
5 providing guidelines for legislative consideration of veto
6 messages; revising calculation of the 72-hour public
7 review period for general appropriation bills.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Connor, you are
9 recognized. I changed your name, Commissioner Thompson, I
10 was reading his name here.
11 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, sir. The first thing
12 this proposal does is clarify for the Legislature, and
13 they have had some recent problems with this, as to when a
14 veto message has to be taken up. Now to kind of refresh
15 your memory on this, a bill is finally passed by both
16 houses, it goes to the Governor. Many times -- most of
17 the time, the Legislature is out of the session by the
18 time the Governor would have the opportunity to veto that
20 And so what happens is the Governor does the veto and
21 ultimately it gets sent back to the House where it
22 originated. If it is a Senate bill, it goes back to the
23 Senate first, if it was the House, it goes back to the
24 House first.
25 And so the question is how long can veto messages,
1 how many times can they come back for consideration. As
2 you know, it takes an extraordinary vote to override a
3 Governor's veto and it is not done that often.
4 The staff on both sides of the House and Senate
5 staffs and the clerk's office and the secretary's office
6 have been working on something that would clarify it for
7 them. And so the way this language reads on Page 2 of
8 this proposal is that legislative action on a veto shall
9 be available only during the next regular or next special
10 session, whichever occurs first.
11 So that if you have a special session intervening,
12 the question has been, does the originating house have to
13 take this up? And if they fail to do so, does that mean
14 it is put off until the next regular legislative session?
15 This I think, for all concerned, is probably going to be
16 the best answer.
17 Now Commissioner Jennings is working on this a little
18 with her staff. And do you have a proposed amendment that
19 you want to make to this? Okay. So I think they are
20 going to make a proposed amendment that changes that a
21 little bit. And I guess is just clarifies it, if we can
22 have that read for Commissioner Jennings.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Is the amendment on the table?
24 Would you read the amendment, please?
25 READING CLERK: By Commissioners Jennings and Scott,
1 on Page 2, Lines 4 through 7, delete those lines and
2 insert, special session, whichever occurs first, and this
3 shall be entered on its journal. If the originating house
4 votes to reenact a vetoed measure, whether in a regular or
5 special session, and the other house does not consider or
6 fails to reenact the vetoed measure, no further
7 consideration by either house at any subsequent session
8 may be taken.
9 If a vetoed measure is presented at a special
10 session, and the originating house does not consider it,
11 the measure will be available for consideration at any
12 intervening special session and until the end of the next
13 regular session.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. You are recognized,
15 Commissioner Jennings.
16 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
17 Commissioners, you are really just helping the Legislature
18 at the moment. I'm not sure if the world will end if we
19 don't do this, but it will certainly help us because at
20 the present time the Constitution says that a vetoed
21 measure will be taken up at the next special or regular
22 session. And there seems to be some confusion as to what
23 that means.
24 Now historically the Senate has taken the position
25 that that just means the next time you can get to a veto
1 message, you better take it up or it is deemed abandoned.
2 Through the years, the House has shared that position with
4 Most recently, and on pretty good legal basis, the
5 House believes that perhaps that is not the way we should
6 look at it, that in fact we probably have the measure
7 available to us, that when they say "special" or
8 "regular," the measures are available to us until the end
9 of the regular session following the time in which the
10 veto message takes place.
11 It came up this year. As you may remember, when we
12 were here during the special session in November, there
13 was some discussion as to whether there would be an
14 override of the Governor's veto of several issues. The
15 Senate took the position that that was probably the
16 appropriate time to take that up, the House took the
17 position they felt it was still available to us at some
18 future time.
19 So to clarify all this, this is one of these
20 housekeeping things that you will help the Legislature.
21 Those of us who have been in the Legislature have talked
22 about it and we think perhaps the most equitable way of
23 approaching it -- and Commissioner Thompson put this in
24 when we were talking early on -- the most equitable way is
25 saying, in fact, those measures are available until the
1 end of the next regular session following the veto.
2 And that's essentially what we have done, that we can
3 either take them up at a special session that comes after
4 the veto occurs, or the next regular session. But at the
5 close of the regular session the vetoes are no longer
7 Perhaps Commissioner Scott would like to enlighten us
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think you made it very clear
10 that what this does is make it clear that you can take it
11 up either at the special session, if you don't, or if one
12 house doesn't it would carry forward to the end of the
13 regular session, the next regular session; is that it?
14 At the present time I think the Governor's staff
15 agreed with the Senate interpretation as being the proper
16 one under the existing Constitution. What this would do
17 is remove any question is what your amendment -- which I
18 believe Commissioner Thompson supports. Am I right,
19 Commissioner Thompson?
20 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I support
21 it. And some of the members are asking for copies. Does
22 everybody have a copy of this?
23 And the logic for changing it from what the proposal
24 was is that you might have a special session, as the
25 chairman has indicated, I think some of the problems that
1 even the Governor has, is you might have a special session
2 for a day or two days or whatever and it is just not
3 proper to considered two or three vetoed messages. Rather
4 than that, go on to the regular session is what members of
5 legislature past, present and others are saying.
6 There is a second part to this proposal,
7 Mr. Chairman, that Commissioner Scott has filed.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are on the amendment at the
10 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: That's right, I'm sorry.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And Commissioner Barkdull was up.
12 Do you have a question, Commissioner Barkdull, or a
13 comment on the amendment?
14 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Let me see if I can ask
15 Commissioner Jennings a question to be sure I understand
16 this. If the Governor vetoed at the conclusion of the
17 session in '97 a measure, and there had been a special
18 session of the Legislature in September of '97 and nobody
19 took it up, and then you get to the regular session of
20 '98, then you would have until the conclusion of the
21 regular session of '98 to reach this issue. Is that the
22 purpose of this amendment?
23 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: Yes.
24 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Thank you.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well you had better correct that.
1 It wouldn't be in '98 because this wouldn't become
2 effective until it passed. And it would not apply to '97.
3 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I stand corrected. I was
4 trying to get the chronological effect of what would
5 happen, but I stand corrected on the dates.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett is up. You
7 are next, Commissioner Smith.
8 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: For a question.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Question of whom?
10 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Commissioner Jennings.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Jennings. She
12 yields for a question.
13 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Friendly question.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And definitely if it is friendly.
15 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: On Line 19 it refers to a
16 vetoed measure is presented at a special session. You use
17 the phrase "presented." In the Constitution currently,
18 presentment of a bill to a Governor, as you know, has a
19 special meaning. I mean, it is once the House and Senate
20 have actually signed off on the measure and formally
21 presented it.
22 I mean, is that just -- does that word have any
23 special meaning? It seems to me that the bill would
24 always be before, potentially before -- the vetoed measure
25 would always be before the House or Senate, depending on
1 where it originated. So I wasn't sure what that term
3 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: My lawyer had to tell me.
4 But in fact there is a procedure where the Secretary of
5 State must present the veto messages to the House or the
6 Senate, and that's what it is termed. They will present
7 them to us. Once they are vetoed, they reside with the
8 Secretary of State, they don't reside with the body in
9 which the bill originated. So the veto message has to be
10 presented to us.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Jennings, under the
12 '68 Constitutional, isn't there language in there that
13 says something like the Secretary must lay it before the
15 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: Yeah.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think the secretary told me
17 that. And what this would do is keep the Secretary of
18 State from having to lay it before the Legislature, just
19 present it.
20 She says laying it before the Legislature is
21 presenting it. Is that what you understood?
22 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: Any kind of nice, clean word
23 we can use is okay with me.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: "Presented" sounds better to me,
25 particularly in today's climate, Commissioner Jennings.
1 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: My thoughts exactly,
2 Mr. Chairman.
3 (Off-the-record comment.)
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: She says both would be in the
5 Constitution if this amendment is adopted. Is everybody
6 clear on the amendment? Do you want to close on it?
7 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: Well just if there are no
8 further questions I would move the amendment. And, again,
9 as I have tried to share with you, historically, the House
10 and Senate have agreed on the interpretation. And this
11 year there was some disagreement, and we felt that that
12 may be the way of things in the future. So there is no
13 reason to have a question. Any way is okay with us, we
14 just want to know what the rules are.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does everybody understand the
16 amendment? All in favor of the amendment say aye;
18 (Verbal vote taken.)
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment carries. Now we
20 are on the proposal. Commissioner Thompson, do you want
21 to explain the rest of your proposal or do you yield to
22 Commissioner Scott?
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I yield to Commissioner
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott, you have the
2 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners,
3 this is the same issue that we previously addressed in a
4 proposal that I had which clarifies the 72-hour waiting
5 period on the passage of the budget. It was intended to
6 be the final budget in the form it would go to the
7 Governor, which is what my proposal said. This language
8 says it a little bit differently, taking the last vote
9 necessary before it would go.
10 But we are going to ask, we are going to have style
11 and drafting and the lawyers finally look at which
12 version, but that's the basic idea. And it is included in
13 this proposal also. We have already passed it
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Then this provision
16 ties in with your previous proposal, is what you are
17 saying, and is the same thing, except it makes it appear
18 in this context as well. All right. Does everybody
19 understand the proposal now, as amended? Would you like
20 to close, please, Mr. Thompson, Commissioner Thompson?
21 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and
22 Members. This is primarily a housekeeping measure, as
23 Commissioner Jennings has told you. I think it is wise to
24 send it on to style and drafting and then if we come up
25 with a package of things that we think are
1 noncontroversial and needed, this is one that I think
2 should be included. And I think it fits about on that
3 rung of the ladder and I recommend it to you.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Unlock the machine
5 and let's vote.
6 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Everybody voted? Lock the
8 machine and announce the vote.
9 READING CLERK: Twenty-eight yeas and zero nays,
10 Mr. Chairman.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And so the proposal as amended
13 Now we'll move to the committee substitute for
14 Proposal 170 by the Committee on Executive and
15 Commissioner Mills, recommended as a committee substitute
16 and disapproved by the Committee of Executive and sent to
17 the floor. Commissioner Mills, you are recognized.
18 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, I've spoken to the
19 chairman of rules about this. I would like to move to
20 temporarily pass this and take it up later.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull, as
22 chairman, did you have any input from anybody else?
23 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: No, sir, not today.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you have any recommendation?
25 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: No, sir, I think he should be
1 accorded the same privilege the Chair has been giving
2 other people.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I haven't been giving it,
4 everybody else has, without objection. So, without
5 objection, we will temporarily pass it.
6 Then we'll move to -- well, Proposal No. 2 by
7 Commissioner Sundberg, who is not here. Incidentally, we
8 have not announced this and I think most of you are aware
9 that Commissioner Sundberg's son passed away last Friday,
10 and that the memorial service, as I understand it, is
11 today. We have all, those of us that knew about it,
12 conveyed our sympathy and our prayers to the family,
13 particularly to our own Commissioner Sundberg.
14 I anticipate that he will probably be able to return
15 to our work pretty soon. But it is a very sad situation
16 when anyone loses a child. And for Commissioner Sundberg,
17 I'm sure it is a difficult time.
18 Commissioner Smith.
19 COMMISSIONER SMITH: While this, too, is a
20 noncontroversial housekeeping matter --
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has anybody read this? Maybe I
22 ought to have the title read.
23 COMMISSIONER SMITH: We ask that it be temporarily
24 passed until Commissioner Sundberg can rejoin us, and we
25 hope and pray that it is very, very soon.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'm going to ask the Reader to
2 read the title and then we will, without objection,
3 temporarily pass it. Read it.
4 READING CLERK: Proposal 2, a proposal to revise
5 Article I, Section 2, Florida Constitution; providing for
6 citizens to enjoy equal opportunity to employment,
7 housing, public accommodations, public education, and
8 other benefits and authorizing governmental agencies to
9 take actions to remedy the effects of past discrimination
10 in certain areas.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Without objection,
12 it's temporarily passed and we'll move to Proposal
13 No. 186. Would you read it, please?
14 READING CLERK: Proposal 186, a proposal to revise
15 Article VI, Section 1, Florida Constitution; limiting
16 political contributions.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's by Commissioner Thompson.
18 It was approved by the Committee on Ethics and Elections,
19 and consideration has been deferred until this week.
20 Commissioner Thompson, you are recognized to introduce
21 your proposal. Was it a unanimous vote in the committee,
22 sir? I understand it was.
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I'm not sure. I think so.
24 Commissioner Barton corrects me.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: There's also an amendment on the
1 table. Commissioner Thompson, you need to tell us just
2 briefly what it is before we take up the amendment.
3 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, actually the amendment
4 now is the proposal. It might be wise, Mr. Chairman, to
5 read the amendment.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: There's an amendment on the
7 table. Would you read it? I've got it. I think
8 everybody may have it.
9 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I'm sending it around now.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It's being distributed. It's on
11 everybody's desk, if it's not, it's being distributed.
12 Let's go ahead and read the amendment which is offered by
13 Commissioner Thompson.
14 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Thompson, on Page 1,
15 Lines 16 through 19, delete a person, political party,
16 political committee or committee of continuous existence
17 may not accept more than $500 per election from any entity
18 or contribute more than $500 per election to a candidate,
19 and insert, (A) aggregate contributions from a contributor
20 to a political party and its committees shall not exceed
21 the amount that may be contributed to a candidate by an
22 individual other than the candidate under Florida law; (B)
23 a political party and its committees will not contribute
24 an aggregate amount to a candidate that exceeds the amount
25 that any other entity other than the candidate may
1 contribute to a candidate under Florida law.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now this is really the proposal
3 now, the amendment, but we are on the amendment. So you
4 may address it, Commissioner Thompson.
5 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and
6 Members. This -- you will note that I have one other
7 proposal here on the veto messages. I filed that kind of
8 as a facilitator since I chaired the Legislative
9 Committee. And also with Commissioner Evans-Jones I filed
10 something to facilitate your deliberations on
11 apportionment. Those are things that I think were brought
12 to us by a lot of many different people, and as chairman
13 of that committee I felt like should stay alive and I was
14 just trying to facilitate.
15 The only measure that I have filed for consideration
16 on a personal basis is this one. And you have heard me
17 say many times that I really like the Legislature and I
18 like our government in Florida, but you have also heard me
19 say that I think there's some dangers. And I think those
20 dangers are increasing every time we have an election.
21 And I don't want us to turn into the kind of circus that
22 we have had at that federal level and to have hearings and
23 embarrassments and all of those kinds of things. Because
24 we have been lucky in Florida, we have got good public
25 officials. I think they really work hard for us.
1 But I'll tell you something, we are getting real,
2 real close. And the reason is there's just too much money
3 in the political and campaign system to have a healthy
4 system. Now, I don't think anybody in the public out
5 there would deny that. But I think we have a
6 responsibility ourselves to take a look at it, and I think
7 we have got to be careful and concerned about federal
8 constitutional rights, and I am. And I think we have to
9 be careful and concerned about the rights of people, no
10 matter what their means in life, to seek public office.
11 And I think I am and I think we have been.
12 And I first filed this bill and I was getting under
13 the deadline and I hadn't filed a thing. And I just kept
14 feeling stronger and stronger about it. And so I got with
15 the staff and said, Well, this is the best I can do today.
16 And that is, I wrote something that Commissioners Morsani
17 and Riley told me last week, Well, by golly, your proposal
18 is finally one that is nonlegalistic and we can all
19 understand it, and we like it. It's good and basic.
20 Well, I have to apologize to you a little bit, I did
21 feel like it needed to be changed, and I said that the
22 last time. I don't think it's good to put a dollar amount
23 in the Constitution like that.
24 So, if you will notice, at the top of my amendment,
25 before sub A, I'm just deleting the language of the
1 proposal and starting over. But the concept is the same.
2 And if it were the law today in our Constitution, the
3 impact would be the same because our contributions are
4 restricted in each election cycle to $500 now.
5 I assume that everybody understands that you can give
6 a candidate a total of $1,500 if they have a primary, and
7 then if they have a runoff and then if they have a general
8 election. So that's really $1,500 per election cycle.
9 And what I'm saying is, number two, nobody, nobody,
10 including political parties or whoever it is, can give a
11 candidate more than the amount set by statute. Right now
12 that's $500 per cycle or $1,500 per election. Nobody can
13 do that. So there won't be this reason to raise all of
14 this soft money, all of this slush that's out there.
15 And you don't have this reason for all of these
16 people to go around, who are in office, whether it's
17 legislative or whether it's gubernatorial or whatever it
18 is, and try to raise huge bucks for some party or PAC or
19 whatever so that huge bucks can then go to that candidate.
20 These candidates don't really need it, it's been proven.
21 But because everybody else can do it, everybody else is
22 scared not to do it. And I'm tell you, we are going to
23 get embarrassed about it before it's all over.
24 So why not just take this basic, simple approach and
25 say everybody can give the same thing, no matter how you
1 form yourself up. And then, the second part is, which is
2 sub A, nobody can give to any of those groups, including a
3 political party, any amount more than you could give a
5 So the political parties can raise a lot of money
6 that way. And they can do everything for their slate,
7 whether you are Democrat or Republican or whatever you
8 are, except you can't put money into that race, over and
9 above the amount that anybody else can put in that race.
10 That's what soft money is. That's what it is all
11 about. And I want to tell you, this has been going on 10,
12 15 years and it has gotten progressively worse and worse.
13 It used to be that people hadn't thought of this bright
14 idea yet and you didn't have these huge amounts of money
15 being solicited and being paid.
16 So I would submit to you that a lot of people out
17 there accused of being special interests and wanting to
18 control politics by these big donations don't like it so
19 much. They feel like it's, in the words of one
20 lobbyist -- and I started to send you-all a bunch of press
21 clippings and all that, but I'll tell you something, I
22 never did too much feel the need to be in a fraternity and
23 I never did too much feel the need to run a poll to get
24 somebody to tell me what I was supposed to think. I've
25 got that much respect for you.
1 So I don't think you need the news media telling you
2 what you should think. This is just a simple, basic
3 problem in the state of Florida and throughout this
4 nation. And we can start right here and start right now
5 by this simple amendment to our state's Constitution.
6 This says there ought to be a limit as to what you
7 give, and that goes for everybody, and that goes to
8 everybody. And that's the end of it. It's just not hard
9 to understand. I guarantee you, you put 22 votes up
10 there, and the public will give you the vote they need.
11 And so with that, I just want to recommend this issue to
12 you and tell you that I think it could be one of the most
13 significant things that we can do for the future of our
14 state. Thank you.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any proponents?
16 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Question.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You have a question? Hawkes was
18 up first. Commissioner Hawkes, do you have a question?
19 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: No.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Ford-Coates,
21 Commissioner Thompson yields to your question.
22 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Commissioner Thompson, the
23 law as it currently stands refers to person, political
24 committee, a committee of continuous existence and limits
25 it to $500 per election. This proposal also refers to
1 political party. Is that the difference of what you are
2 trying to get to as opposed to what the statutes currently
4 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I think so, uh-huh.
5 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: So that people can
6 currently give more than $500 to political parties, not to
7 committees of continuous existence or political
9 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: No, I think you can currently
10 give more than $500 to a committee of continuous
11 existence. I think through a dues type of donation you
12 can give more than $500.
13 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Right, but then those
14 entities cannot give more than $500 to a candidate.
15 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Today --
16 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: No person, political
17 committee, a committee of continuous existence can give
18 any more than $500 per election.
19 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Nobody but the party, yeah.
20 The party can give up to 50,000.
21 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: But the party can. So
22 what we are really doing is getting rid of that loophole?
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, and there will be no
24 need then to give it to the party because the party is
25 going to be restricted to $500 into the candidate's
2 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Would you explain to me
3 why you believe this should be in the Constitution and not
4 in the statute?
5 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well, I'll tell you, it's
6 like a lot of things that we have been working on here. I
7 don't think it'll find its way into the statutes. I think
8 it's been recommended several times and it hasn't been
9 done. And for that reason, I think it's something that's
10 worthy of our consideration. About 90, 95 percent of what
11 we deliberated upon, in my judgment, would have been able
12 to be done statutorily.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right now, proponent?
14 Question from Commissioner Henderson.
15 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Commissioner Thompson, would
16 you believe me -- I have heard everything you said and I
17 agree with everything that you have said. What's
18 troubling me is I want to understand the effect because
19 now I'm starting to be confused. Under your proposal, if
20 adopted, would a political party have the ability to
21 spend, as it does now, $50,000 in a legislative campaign?
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: No, it would not.
23 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: That would be the state
24 Democratic or Republican party or federal, for that
25 matter; is that right?
1 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Right.
2 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Now last year we saw in the
3 presidential campaigns a tremendous amount of, shall we
4 just say commercials paid for by the national parties that
5 were run in the state that was not supposedly for a
6 particular candidate, but for support of the party, which
7 had the effect of helping particular candidates. Would
8 this address that issue at all?
9 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I doubt it. I think that's
10 probably going to be covered by federal constitutional
11 protections of free speech and association. And as long
12 as it doesn't go directly into the campaign of a
13 candidate, I think political parties and others can spend
14 unlimited funds. And I don't think there's anything that
15 we can do about that in our Florida Constitution.
16 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: In a limited sense, let me
17 ask this also. We have seen in the last few legislative
18 cycles, I think by both parties, large television buys
19 that came out of their Washington or New York
20 headquarters, you know, to buy up the local markets
21 throughout the state and then those things were made
22 available to local candidates, or actually it may have
23 been that the expenditure was done from there. Would this
24 get to that at all?
25 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I don't think so. I think
1 anybody that's worried about political parties and the
2 role that they play shouldn't worry. First of all, it
3 will cut down on the amount of money they are able to
4 collect per entity. That's $500 per entity in Florida.
5 And I think that's healthy. I think that's very healthy.
6 Secondly, it will cut back to $500 under today's law
7 what they can give for elections, primary and so forth.
8 And I think that's healthy. But I still think -- there's
9 going to be a great place for the political parties. I
10 think they will go back to doing really and truly what we
11 need them to do, which is help us with the debate on
12 philosophy and so forth. And there may be times when that
13 coincides very well with particular candidates, and I
14 think that's part of freedom of speech and association.
15 And we are somewhat limited as to what we can do about
17 But as time goes by, if we do something like this, I
18 think those other issues will be neatened up not only by
19 our state but maybe by other states, maybe by the federal
20 government and probably judicial decisions.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now Commissioner Connor, then
22 Commissioner Barnett, then Commissioner Barton for a
23 question. Commissioner Connor.
24 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I have a question likewise.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: He yields.
1 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Commissioner Thompson, if I
2 understood the aim of what you are trying to get at is you
3 have wanted to limit, both directly and indirectly, the
4 amounts of money that an entity or person can contribute
5 to a political campaign to avoid the abuses of excess
6 money buying an election, in essence. Am I correct about
8 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, excess spending in
9 elections is not good for us.
10 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: The question that I have
11 really -- and I think I understand that through Paragraph
12 B. The question I have, though, really relates to
13 Paragraph A, which limits the contributions that people
14 may make to a political party.
15 Historically, from before the beginning of the
16 republic, political speech has been deemed to be a
17 preferred form of speech. This goes well beyond, it seems
18 to me, limiting the amount of money that flows into an
19 election campaign, and by virtue of the provisions of
20 Paragraph A strikes me that it might -- that it would
21 significantly limit the ability of a political party to
22 get its message out, in terms of philosophy.
23 I'm not sure if that's what you intend, but you
24 certainly cap out the amount of money that a private
25 contributor can give to their political party, which will
1 most certainly in today's media age have a substantially
2 diminishing effect, I believe, on the ability of that
3 party to get its message out, without regard to any
4 particular election or candidate.
5 I'm not sure if you intend that, but I have grave
6 reservations about the potential unintended effect that
7 may flow out of Paragraph A and I hope you will address
9 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I'll be glad to. I think
10 that the issue for us there is, what is a campaign
11 contribution and what is a contribution to a party. And
12 it is a couple of things.
13 First of all, it is freedom of speech. And secondly,
14 it's freedom of association. And what the courts have
15 held, I think, the way I understand it, is that you
16 have -- some reasonable limit can be put on that because
17 you have other alternatives. Now I do believe, as you
18 say, that it will cut back on the amount of money that
19 parties can collect. I think you are correct in that.
20 And that's exactly what I'm trying to do and that's
21 exactly what I'm trying to convince you is wrong. Because
22 I believe not just money influences elections. And that's
23 what the court said, I think, in Buckley versus Valeo.
24 And I don't know that case word for word, but I do know
25 that what the court said and I think what the court
1 intended there was that there are other things that you
2 can do for that candidate or for that party that will
3 espouse that philosophy.
4 Anybody, for example, can make independent
5 expenditures on behalf of those things and there's nothing
6 that anybody can do about that. Those are, I think,
7 absolutely protected.
8 So, instead of giving a political party to spend as
9 it wants to 25,000, 50,000, having that money solicited
10 from people in the public and particularly special
11 interests, which is where it's usually solicited from by
12 parties, then I think maybe some of those people will be
13 interested enough in government and there will probably
14 still be some solicitation, but there will be plenty of
15 money that will be spent, I think we can all depend on
16 that. I think it is the way it's going to be addressed
17 and the way that it's going to be solicited that this will
19 But you are exactly right, I'm trying to limit what
20 you are concerned about.
21 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: May I follow briefly? So, if,
22 for example, a contributor wanted to give designated funds
23 to their party, to promote a campaign that would point out
24 the philosophical points of distinction between their
25 party and the opposing party, if I understand your
1 amendment, their ability to do that would be limited by
2 the limitations that would be involved as to how much they
3 could contribute in the aggregate to a candidate; is that
5 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, but it would not in any
6 way limit independent expenditures. So they could do
7 exactly the same thing without going through that
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett is next. He
11 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Commission Thompson, I like
12 this proposal and I plan to support it, but I wanted to
13 ask you in, line A of your amendment you talk about a
14 contributor. If you would explain the scope of that word.
15 I mean, I presume it is a person, a political party, a
16 committee of continuous existence, but I think you might
17 need to give us some idea about who is a contributor.
18 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well I think any legal entity
19 is a contributor, just one entity now. I think you can
20 continue the practice that you now have. I have no
21 concern personally about, as long as you limit
22 contributions, allowing corporations to make
23 contributions, for example. A corporation would be a
25 In Florida I think it's been held that a corporation
1 may have several subsidiaries and all of them can give
2 money. I think I can give money and I think my wife can
3 give money and I think my children can give money as long
4 as it's their own money.
5 So there will be -- let me tell you, folks, there
6 won't be any shortage of money, still. There won't be any
7 shortage of money. But I think it's going to change
8 things an awful lot. But your point is well taken. It
9 means exactly just what you would think it would mean.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barton for a
12 COMMISSIONER BARTON: Yes. I voted against this in
13 committee, but only because I had a question that still
14 remains unanswered. And that was limited to the
15 contributions from an individual to a political party.
16 Are there any states where that's been limited? It
17 doesn't say in the background information.
18 And my concern is, can we tell an individual that
19 they can't contribute money to a political party any more
20 than we can tell them that they can't contribute to a
21 church or to their sorority or to their college or a
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Or to a candidate. And we
24 tell them everyday; we tell them everyday about a
25 candidate. And I think a party would fit that.
1 Now you raise a good point and I'm not trying to
2 avoid that point. There's the possibility of
3 constitutional concern about that. But I think in my
4 response to Commissioner Connor, freedom of speech has
5 been considered, freedom of association has been
6 considered. You have other alternatives, you will have
7 other alternatives in Florida rather than just giving to a
8 party to express yourself as far as speech, to express
9 your association.
10 So as far as those are available, my understanding is
11 that this should pass constitutional muster.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner
13 Wetherington for a question.
14 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Let me ask this question.
15 Number one, is this going to weaken, in any way, political
16 parties, number one, major political parties, or also a
17 possible effect on a minor political party? How would it
18 effect -- in other words, we have a party system in this
19 country. We have representative democracies. Obviously,
20 we all know that political parties have been very
21 fundamental in this. Is this going to undermine in some
22 way or weaken the effectiveness of political parties?
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well, personally, I don't
24 think that it will. As I said, this is a practice of --
25 this solicitation of 10, 15, 25, $30,000 for the party and
1 then the party ultimately giving to candidates up to
2 $50,000 I think is something that's kind of evolved over
3 the last decade or so. I think the parties were strong
4 before it evolved and I think that they will be strong
5 afterwards. They may even be a little stronger because I
6 think they will be working on their philosophy and not
7 raising money just to stick straight into campaigns.
8 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Right now they could give
9 $50,000 to the candidate.
10 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: To a legislative candidate,
11 that's my understanding.
12 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: I could contribute $1,000
13 or $5,000 to the party and the party could collect a lot
14 of those and the party could give how much to the
15 candidate, 50,000?
16 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Up to 50,000 is my
18 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: $50,000, I mean, for
19 example, in Dade County, $50,000 in a countywide campaign
20 in Dade County is basically nothing. I mean, it literally
21 wouldn't even begin to make a difference.
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well, I'll tell you
23 something, I know people the run statewide that spend
24 many, many hours trying to raise $50,000. Dade County may
25 be a little different than statewide. But I think that
1 amount is significant. I think that's too much for any
2 one entity to put into an individual campaign, and I think
3 it can be done otherwise.
4 You know, as the old fellow said to the king fish
5 when he was dying in that book -- what was the name of it,
6 I can't remember the name of it -- but he said, It could
7 have been done different. And I think this could be done
8 different and better.
9 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Would it affect
10 minority -- let's say a small party, a minority party is
11 trying to get started and has a good cause and would like
12 to raise money to support minority candidates. How would
13 it affect the ability of minority parties to advance in
14 our political system?
15 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well, they would have to play
16 by the same rules that everybody else does. And I think
17 that's healthy. I think the candidates themselves, in
18 particular, if you want to look at that, everybody else
19 out there in that person's legislative district or in that
20 Dade County can't give them but $500 apiece, and along
21 comes a party that may get all of those funds from a Ross
22 Perot or a Chinese Government and give it to that person,
23 I don't want that, personally.
24 I would just as soon go along with this and everybody
25 play by the same rules. And I think if minority parties
1 are going to flourish in Florida, they will do it in spite
2 of this. I don't know that they have done so well so far
3 any way, so I don't think this will hurt them.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any more questions? Commissioner
5 Thompson, you have the right to close, so I'll come back
6 to you. Commissioner Hawkes, you have been very patient.
7 It's your turn.
8 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
9 would like to start with a couple of disclaimers. One, I
10 don't like opposing Commissioner Thompson. Normally I'm
11 very supportive of what he's supportive of; I think we
12 share a lot of philosophies.
13 Secondly, I would like to point out that when we are
14 talking about limiting the money in campaigns, we had some
15 other proposals, Commissioner Corr's and I guess a
16 disclaimer, I voted for those because I thought those
17 might have an effect of actually limiting the money in the
19 I think this proposal, though, however, is really
20 going to protect incumbents. I would challenge anyone to
21 show me a race where an incumbent member was defeated by a
22 member of the opposite party where he didn't have party
23 help. I would also challenge the commissioners to go up
24 to the Secretary of the State's office and look at the
25 campaign reports for members of the legislature who have
1 already opened up their campaign accounts, which is
2 probably the vast majority. And they have 35 to $50,000
3 probably on-hand already.
4 I would also ask you to remember some of the things
5 that have already been said, in other words, corporations
6 can give money, their subsidiaries can give money. And,
7 also, there's nothing to prevent you from creating 30 PACs
8 or 100 PACs and each one of your PACs could then give
9 $500. And that's not just a hypothetical, in fact, many
10 organizations in Florida do have numerous PACs that they
11 can write checks from.
12 This was illustrated to me in a rather graphic way
13 when I saw that my opponent had the Realtors' support and
14 blessing and then I looked at his campaign report and
15 there was a contribution from the, I think it was the Relo
16 PAC or something, and then Real PAC, and Realtor PAC. And
17 they all have the same address, they were all given the
18 same day, they had different names and they were in fact
19 different organizations, but they all came and they were
20 signed by the same individual.
21 Obviously if I had someone in my district who
22 supported me, they couldn't make additional individuals;
23 they had just what they had. I raised more money in my
24 district when I first ran, in 1990 when I won, than my
25 opponent did. But my opponent out-raised from
1 contributors probably better than ten to one from what I
2 raised because he had the Tallahassee connection.
3 You know, I'm sure that lobbyists would love to give
4 money to the person they think is best able to represent
5 the district that they are coming from, but in reality,
6 they support the people who they think are going to win,
7 and that's the incumbent. There is no way that the
8 incumbent can be successfully challenged unless -- and if
9 this is your philosophy and this might be fine -- unless
10 he's independently wealthy.
11 In other words, a man or woman of average means would
12 not be able to successfully challenge and take on the
13 typical legislative candidate. And it doesn't happen now.
14 The only time an incumbent is unseated in Florida now by a
15 member of the opposite party is when his own political
16 party comes and gets involved.
17 Now, there are some other questions that I would ask
18 you to consider before voting on this. In 1992, we
19 reduced the amount that you could receive from one person
20 from $1,000 down to $500 per election cycle. So it used
21 to be you could get $3,000 from any entity and now you can
22 get $1500 from an entity.
23 And if we look at the campaign reports, it's clear
24 that the money involved in campaigns hasn't gone down at
25 all. It's just as much money, it's just that now we have
1 had to find other ways, and I would submit less
2 accountable ways, to fund these campaigns. We have
3 created more entities, we write more checks. And so the
4 professional players, they do well and they prosper
5 because they find ways, they're there every year, year in,
6 year out. And they find ways to get around to achieve
7 their goals.
8 Of course, the people who might support you if you
9 decide to run for office from your district, they might
10 just get enthusiastic because maybe they belong to a civic
11 club with you or they go to your church, and they want to
12 help you out. They don't know all these fancy rules.
13 They think, I'm allowed to give 500 bucks and they give
14 500 bucks, and that's it.
15 I would also tell you from personal experience that
16 right now when a party spends $50,000 on a legislative
17 race, there has to be accountability. They work with the
18 candidate and the candidate signs off on what they do.
19 And sometimes they will tell the party, No, I don't want
20 to do that, or, Yes, I do want to do that.
21 Florida is the fourth largest state in the union and
22 there is a lot at stake when you have a $44 billion
23 budget, which we might have next year. This year I think
24 it was $42.5 billion. Obviously, Florida's industry is
25 concerned about who is making these decisions. And they
1 are going to become involved and they are going to give
2 money to the parties and the parties are going to become
3 involved and they are going to participate.
4 If you make it so the party can only give $500 to the
5 candidate, then the party is going to do independent
6 expenditures. Why did we never have independent
7 expenditures to the extent that we had them last cycle in
8 previous cycles? Because we tried to make artificial
9 rules. It's expensive to run for office because there is
10 a lot at stake. We ask these people to carry an awful lot
11 of obligation and responsibility.
12 People are concerned, the way we get our message out
13 is through spending money. And if we pass this, I agree
14 with Commissioner Thompson, I think the voters would
15 probably adopt it. But they would be adopting it to
16 achieve a goal that they are not going to achieve with
17 this proposal.
18 If you want to make it so that we can still have
19 competitive elections, Florida I think by most accounts is
20 a two-party state, if you want to make it so that both
21 parties can compete, then we ought to not make it so that
22 we just favor incumbents. I think to make it competitive
23 we need to allow the parties to participate and we need to
24 allow them to participate directly so that we have
25 accountability from the candidate.
1 So when a mail piece goes out that you think is
2 offensive, there is somebody that has to answer to that
3 because it came through his campaign account. You know,
4 maybe there's some ability to dodge there, but it's not
5 the same as independent expenditures.
6 There's still going to be big money in these races,
7 it's just that it's going to be more hidden. And so for
8 those reasons, I would ask you to vote against the
9 proposal. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Connor.
11 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Mr. Chairman, I rise to speak
12 in opposition to the proposal with reluctance because of
13 my great respect for Commissioner Thompson, and because I
14 believe I share many of his thoughts as they relate to
15 financial abuses associated with campaign spending.
16 But I'm particularly concerned about the effects of
17 Paragraph A of the proposal, which imposes what I would
18 submit to you are very draconian limits on the amount of
19 money that a person can contribute to a political party.
20 It seems to me that the real evil, if you will, that
21 Commissioner Thompson wants to get at is the undue
22 influence that money can have on a campaign.
23 But I think the political parties play a role in our
24 society that go well beyond just a given election cycle.
25 Because the political parties, when they are doing what
1 they ought to be doing, are supposed to be promoting a
2 philosophy of government, a world view, if you will, about
3 how we ought to order ourselves within the political
4 arena, a view about the role of government in the place of
5 our lives, and other important contributions that
6 political parties make to developing the ideas that
7 ultimately will take hegemony in the marketplace of ideas.
8 When we come in and limit the amount of money that an
9 individual can contribute to a political party, we have a
10 chilling effect on the dialogue that takes place,
11 notwithstanding what may happen in a given election cycle,
12 but we have a dramatic, and I would submit to you chilling
13 effect on the ability of a political party to get its
14 message out. We live in a state with 14 million people,
15 with 13 or 14 major media markets. And money is the means
16 by which the message gets disseminated to the people.
17 While I support in the strongest way the elimination
18 of special interest money and undue influence of
19 contributions in elections, I don't wish in any way to
20 limit the ability of a party to disseminate its message,
21 to distinguish itself from other parties who may be
22 contending for primacy in the marketplace.
23 This will not only have the effect of benefiting
24 incumbents, this will have the effect of perpetuating the
25 hegemony of the Republican and Democratic parties in our
1 existing political landscape because they will continue to
2 travel forward, in large part, based on their history,
3 their name recognition, their ideas, et cetera.
4 But a fledgling new party who wishes to compete in
5 the arena will be at a decided disadvantage because it
6 will have a dramatically restricted ability to get its
7 ideas into the forefront for consideration by the public.
8 So while I support in the strongest of terms the
9 efforts to limit the undue influence of special interest
10 money -- and frankly, I'm not as concerned about the
11 contribution of money to political parties to candidates
12 as Commissioner Thompson is, although I understand what
13 has happened in terms of the abuse of the system with the
14 soft money contributions. I am profoundly concerned about
15 limiting the ability of people to disseminate their ideas
16 in the marketplace.
17 And while I may be able to go into the marketplace
18 and spend $5,000 on trying to get a particular political
19 message out, that $5,000 in and of itself, through an
20 independent expenditure campaign, won't gain nearly the
21 leverage it will if it's combined with the contributions
22 of 100 others who have contributed $5,000 to get that
23 message into the marketplace.
24 So I think the political parties play a proper and
25 profoundly important role in developing political
1 discourse in this state. And I think this proposal is
2 frankly too draconian in its impact and I will vote
3 against it.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any more opponents? Commissioner
6 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: I would just say I have
7 to join in and agree with what Commissioner Connor said.
8 In our representative form of government, people can't
9 know everything, we have to have some way to bring the
10 message to people to make our system work. The way we
11 have selected in this country to do it is through our
12 political parties, this allows representative democracy to
14 And the political parties have to have the ability to
15 get the message out. And presumably they are not soft
16 money. Presumably a political party is not some low-level
17 kind of thing that has no interest in the public
18 well-being. It's theoretically something that promotes
19 well-being and helps to allow our representative democracy
20 to function.
21 To say that a political party can contribute up to
22 $50,000 doesn't seem to me, number one, like a terrible
23 thing. In fact, it seems to me like in many areas you
24 could argue that maybe it should even be more money.
25 I totally agree with this soft money and with the
1 abuses of money and all like that. If it were anything
2 else, I would agree totally. But to say that political
3 parties can't raise the money is what disturbs me. So I
4 would vote against it.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Thompson to close.
6 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and
7 Members. I certainly respect the people who have spoken
8 in opposition to this, and I'm kind of wondering what they
9 are going to do about the problem because I haven't heard
10 anybody make any real suggestions.
11 People talk about soft money, but every time an issue
12 comes up about it, it's not soft money. People worry
13 about fledgling political parties. Who in the world do
14 you think if -- who do you think is going to get the money
15 if a fledgling, new political party goes and solicits
16 money from the next ten special interests? Is it going to
17 be that new little political party, or is it going to be
18 one that's got people in office and especially people in
19 office that are calling them about it?
20 So don't feel too sorry for the little party and vote
21 against this. Give them a chance, maybe, to get into the
22 ball game and let everybody be on the same and level
23 playing field.
24 Now, you know, we talked about the role of the party.
25 And I respect what Mr. Connor said and others about the
1 party, the party's role in our society and in our history.
2 But constitutionally there are lots of things a party can
3 do besides just collect money and give it.
4 And I will submit to you that that's all they are
5 doing today in Florida, and it's getting worse and worse
6 and worse. And while I didn't send you out a bunch of
7 newspaper clippings, I assume that all of you are
8 listening and reading and watching TV and you hear and you
9 read and you know what's going on, and it's wrong and it's
10 bad. And as I said earlier, it's certainly going to
11 embarrass us all before it's all said and done.
12 I think the political parties have a real role and I
13 think they need to get back to fulfilling those roles and
14 they do need to be espousing philosophy and they need to
15 be working on philosophy and working on voter turnout and
16 all of those things that are healthy.
17 But they don't need to be giving or receiving this
18 big money. And they don't need to be using these elected
19 officials to get it. And the very idea that this idea
20 right here is in favor of incumbents is unbelievable to
21 me. Because it is the incumbents that go to get the money
22 to go to the party that go back to them.
23 Where in the world do you think the influence comes
24 from to get the money to those parties to begin with? It
25 is not from the people that are not in office. It is from
1 the people who are in office. That's the problem.
2 So this is not a measure to help or to hurt
3 incumbents. It is a measure to put everybody on the same
4 playing field, to clean up our campaign laws in Florida,
5 and it is a step hand-in-hand with some limited, measured
6 form of campaign finance, government campaign finance.
7 And if you will take this step, if you will take this
8 step, I think you will see other steps. I want to see it
9 squeezed until we do know who gave and who got and until
10 we do know what the person says and what the person wants
11 and who they got money from. And it doesn't have to go
12 through some third entity to get to them. That's wrong.
13 Give them $500 or don't give them anything. Don't
14 give $25,000 to the party so they can end up with it.
15 That's what I'm saying. Squeeze this system a little bit.
16 Take a little risk, take a little risk, and you will be
17 glad you did. Thank you.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott, would you
19 take the chair? The Chairman wants to exercise a
20 prerogative which is given in the rules to close on this
22 (Commissioner Scott assumes the chair.)
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioners, I'm not going to
24 do this -- usually I'm going to leave the podium and come
25 down when I am involved in presenting something, but
1 listening to this debate I felt it was necessary that at
2 least I express the Chair's views on this issue.
3 Anybody who has dealt with politics over a period of
4 time or elections over a period of time will tell you that
5 Commissioner Thompson, who has as much knowledge about
6 this subject as anybody in the state of Florida, having
7 raised money as Speaker, having done all of the things
8 that he has discussed, and he has outlined to you a very
9 modest constitutional provision, which is the only way we
10 will ever get election reform or financial participation
11 in elections put on a reasonable basis.
12 I say to those of you who say $50,000 is not much
13 money, I say to you that that's more money than about
14 85 percent of our people make in a year in their families.
15 I say to you when that's the case, it is obscene to allow
16 that amount of money to go to political parties to go back
17 into races to defeat people.
18 To those of you who say that this would help the
19 incumbents, I say to you, the incumbents are already
20 helped. If you don't believe it, look at the incumbents
21 and the amounts of money they raise depending on their
22 positions in the Legislature. $300,000 I recall reading
23 about one who doesn't have an opponent.
24 Now we cannot expect nor can we demand that the
25 Legislature deal with this problem at all. They are
1 handcuffed by the need in their view to raise money to
2 stay in office to prevent their views. I think that this
3 one measure, and any measure which goes from this body
4 forth to the public that would reduce the influence of
5 obscene money, of large amounts, of these terrible amounts
6 being paid to achieve the purposes of those people who
7 happen to have been fortunate enough to have the money, no
8 matter where it came from.
9 Whether it is inherited money, which is the easiest
10 kind to spend, Commissioners, or whether it is hard-earned
11 money, which is the pretty hard kind to spend, or whether
12 it is money that falls easily from stock options or from
13 corporations that have millions and billions of dollars of
14 income a year, it is still something that we cannot sit
15 here in good conscience and let this amendment be defeated
16 and give the people an opportunity to vote on this.
17 There is no other way that we will achieve election
18 reform in our time. And those of us that are approaching
19 the end of our careers have seen this work both ways. It
20 is not a political party issue at all. We have seen it
21 where one party has got all the money and we have seen it
22 where the next party has got all the money and we have
23 seen it where the candidates here and there raise large
25 But I can assure you that those that have dealt with
1 this, and those that have had to go raise the money, to go
2 out and beg for the money, to go out and do those things,
3 need an overall revamping of this system that we have to
4 make sure that we go back to voting on issues and voting
6 And I urge you each to give this an opportunity to go
7 to the people in the forum in which it's been offered by
8 Commissioner Thompson, who has made one of the most
9 eloquent presentations for it that could be made. And I
10 add my meager voice to his. Thank you very much.
11 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay. The secretary tells me
12 that we never acted on the amendment and so at this point
13 we need to vote to I assume adopt the amendment which will
14 then become the proposal that has been debated at length
15 here and discussed by proponent Commissioner Thompson.
16 All in favor of the amendment, say aye; opposed?
17 (Verbal vote taken.)
18 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: And so the amendment is adopted.
19 And now the question -- I'm sorry, for what purpose,
20 Commissioner Connor?
21 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: To inquire whether or not
22 Commissioner Douglass would yield for a question, inasmuch
23 as he has not had the opportunity to receive questions at
24 this point.
25 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioner Douglass, will you
1 yield for a question?
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Provided the rules allow it, I
4 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I don't think there is a rule on
5 it, so he yields.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Provided the Chair allows it.
7 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: He yields. Go ahead with your
9 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Thank you. Commissioner
10 Douglass, my question very simply is whether or not every
11 single concern that you raise isn't adequately addressed
12 by part B of the proposal without the necessity of
13 Paragraph A.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: My answer is no.
15 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: And so the question recurs on
16 final passage of Proposal 186. Unlock the machine and
17 Commissioners prepare to vote.
18 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
19 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Have all Commissioners voted?
20 Lock the machine and record the vote.
21 READING CLERK: Twenty-one yeas and 9 nays,
22 Mr. Chairman.
23 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: And so the proposal is adopted
24 and referred to Style and Drafting.
25 Read the next proposal.
1 READING CLERK: Proposal 135, a proposal to revise
2 Article VII, Section 4, Florida Constitution; adding lands
3 used for conservation purposes to those lands that may by
4 law be assessed for tax purposes on the basis of their
5 character or use.
6 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioner Henderson.
7 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman, thank you.
8 This is beginning to sound like a broken record on this
9 one. I'll ask that this be deferred until the day after
10 tomorrow inasmuch as your committee that you will be
11 chairing tomorrow, F&T, will be taking up its sister
12 proposal at that time.
13 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay. Let me suggest to you
14 that we remind us to try to get -- the question here was a
15 definition of conservation. Let's see if we can work on
16 that before tomorrow night.
17 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Your staff put together a
18 very nice memo on this and I'm assuming that we will be
19 able to resolve the issue in your committee tomorrow.
20 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Without objection, the proposal
21 is temporarily passed.
22 Read the next proposal.
23 READING CLERK: Proposal 33, a proposal to revise
24 Article VII, Section 5, Florida Constitution; eliminating
25 the prohibition against levying a state income tax.
1 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioner Barnett.
2 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I was trying to think of
3 something different to say other than temporarily pass.
4 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: How about you are sorry?
6 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Oh, but I'm not, I am not at
7 all. I just want to make sure that it is a slow press day
8 when this comes up.
9 No, actually, I talked with the chairman, the Rules
10 Committee chairman, and asked that it be temporarily
11 passed until probably tomorrow afternoon when the issue
12 will come up, assuming there is time on the calendar.
13 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay. In fairness to the rules
14 chairman why don't we just temporarily pass it and then it
15 will be up to the committee to reschedule it. Any
16 objection? Without objection, show the matter temporarily
18 Read the next proposal.
19 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
20 No. 184, a proposal to revise Article VI, Section 1,
21 Florida Constitution; providing that the Legislature shall
22 prohibit certain conduct in connection with elections.
23 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay. Our executive director
24 informs me that they are distributing a staff analysis and
25 an amendment or substitute proposal; is that right,
2 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
3 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: We will go ahead and recognize
4 Commissioner Mills to explain the proposal.
5 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. We discussed
6 this previously last time. Commissioner Freidin and
7 others had some technical questions about the language and
8 its effect. Commissioner Freidin and I have an amendment
9 on the desk to address that.
10 But conceptually what this does is provide a basis
11 for the Legislature to deal with one of the other issues
12 that the public tells us they care about in terms of
13 elections. It is not just money, it is deception, fraud
14 and lying. This provision will allow us to direct the
15 Legislature to impose the most serious penalty on a person
16 running for public office who is deceptive, and who has
17 lied to the public; that is, remove them from office.
18 The law as it currently stands does not allow us to
19 do that because the law limits removal from office to a
20 felony. Now, this won't change the process in terms of
21 how it is done. Each house of the Legislature will judge
22 its own members, the Governor would deal with executive
23 officers, the Legislature would deal with impeachable
24 officers, the Supreme Court justices, et cetera.
25 But currently you can have fraud, deception, libel
1 and slander in an election and remain in office. It seems
2 to me, and it seemed to the committee which voted
3 unanimously on this, that this is an opportunity for us to
4 direct the Legislature to do something which should fully
5 restore faith in elections.
6 I'm sorry Commissioner Thompson isn't here because I
7 was going to, I think it was in Commissioner Thompson's
8 district, for those that are concerned about truth in
9 elections, it was either -- it was James Harold Smith who
10 was running for election. And he had, his two campaign
11 managers came in, one from Jackson County, one from
12 Gadsden County.
13 The one from Jackson County said, You have got to get
14 to Jackson County fast, you have got to get to Jackson
15 County very fast, they are lying about you. Well the
16 campaign manager who came from Gadsden County said, Well,
17 that's nothing, you can't go there, you have to come to
18 Gadsden County. He said, Why? He said, Because they are
19 telling the truth about you in Gadsden County.
21 So while lying isn't always the most derogatory thing
22 that we can say about some politicians, what this does do
23 is say that honesty in elections counts. And Commissioner
24 Freidin and I have an amendment on the desk.
25 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Read the amendment.
1 READING CLERK: By Commissioners Mills and Freidin,
2 on Page 1, Lines 13 through 24, delete those lines and
3 insert Section 1, regulation of elections, (A), all
4 elections by the people shall be by direct and secret
5 vote. General elections shall be determined by --
6 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: It has been distributed, a
7 lengthy amendment. Commissioner Mills, do you have any
8 further explanation?
9 COMMISSIONER MILLS: That is what I described.
10 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Questions on the amendment?
11 Anyone wish to debate the amendment? Any further --
12 Commissioner Barkdull, for what purpose?
13 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: If that amendment is on the
14 desk, I don't have it. It started out -- when he started
15 reading it, I haven't seen one like that.
16 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: How about it, Staff, is it on
17 the desk?
18 The secretary says it has been distributed. Who
19 doesn't have it? Let's get them another copy.
20 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I certainly don't want to
21 suggest that we temporarily pass something when we have an
22 opportunity to vote.
23 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioner Barnett, for what
24 purpose? Question, he yields.
25 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: The amendment before us
1 begins, undue influence in connection with an election.
2 Is that the current amendment? The question is presumably
3 this is, these are actions taken by the candidate, as
4 opposed to perhaps people on the candidate's behalf, but
5 it is not clear from the language that it would be solely
6 the actions of the candidate.
7 COMMISSIONER MILLS: The question is you are
8 suggesting that there are people who are capable of lying
9 on the candidate's behalf, as opposed to just the
11 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Yeah, the question --
12 yes, I mean, I think that there are many times some of
13 these activities that you are trying to get to might well
14 be committed by others, but I just think -- the question
15 is, what's your intent because the language is unclear to
16 me whether it is limited to the candidate or anyone acting
17 on the candidate's behalf, plus the candidate.
18 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I don't think it would be fair
19 to have anyone acting on the candidate's behalf, but it
20 should be the candidate or knowingly done on behalf of the
21 candidate, it would seem to me. So with the candidate's
23 So -- well I think we have -- if Commissioner Freidin
24 wants to prepare language to do that, I would accept that.
25 The intention is not that an unknowing candidate for
1 actions by others could be removed from office. Because,
2 I mean, it is true, that could happen.
3 But nonetheless, I would think a candidate who
4 knowingly allowed fraud, libel and slander to occur should
5 be in the same position as having done it personally
6 because it is not likely that they are going to personally
7 do a campaign mailer, they are going to approve it.
8 Are there other questions other than that?
9 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Any questions? Commissioner
11 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: Commissioner Mills, I really
12 like what you both are trying to accomplish with this and
13 I am in fact working with a group down in Dade County to
14 try to design something similar through an ordinance, but
15 some of what I see in Dade County at least I'm concerned
16 wouldn't be covered by this. So I would almost be in
17 favor of broadening this language.
18 And I wonder if you wouldn't consider any reference
19 to racial or ethnic background of either the candidate or
20 a candidate's relative. There are a lot of I think really
21 disgusting types of activities that I have seen that
22 aren't going to be covered by this, whereas a lot of this
23 is already covered. For instance, bribery is covered,
24 fraud is covered, and I believe libel is covered because
25 that is also a crime.
1 COMMISSIONER MILLS: That's true but none of them are
2 removable offenses. But if you want to --
3 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: Well aren't they all felonies?
4 Bribery --
5 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Bribery could be.
6 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: -- fraud. And libel is a
7 misdemeanor or a felony? We could look this up real
8 quick. I was wondering if you would consider --
9 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Consider a special Dade County
10 provision, but --
11 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: Listen, we are just a crystal
13 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, if you want, it
14 seems like there are a couple suggestions here that are
15 probably noncontroversial if the overall topic is, it
16 seems to me, basically what the commission has in mind.
17 If you could let us temporarily pass this for a few bills,
18 we could probably bring it back and let the Chair know
19 when that occurred.
20 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay. Any further questions?
21 Commissioner Smith.
22 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My
23 concern as I'm reading this is the part that talks about
24 publishing of a falsehood about a candidate. And I'm
25 thinking about the degrees of falsehoods. And I have some
1 serious concern about that.
2 You know, I hear all the time the complicated basis
3 upon which legislation is made where someone can vote
4 against a proposal, you know, three or four times because
5 of procedural matters and the candidate can then say,
6 well, this person opposes a particular issue, but it is
7 not that he opposed the issue, but they oppose maybe an
8 amendment, or the procedure in which it was going or
10 I mean, that's a falsehood, but is that the basis to
11 actually remove somebody from office? I'm just saying I
12 see a lot of -- you know, if a person said, knew a person
13 was 40 and said they are 39, that's a lie. You can remove
14 them from office for that?
15 COMMISSIONER MILLS: No.
16 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay, what?
17 COMMISSIONER MILLS: This is the amendment which --
18 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Well I don't have the amendment.
19 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Here.
20 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay. Thank you very much.
21 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Further questions? Commissioner
22 Wetherington, for what purpose?
23 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: We're not speaking on it
24 at this time; is that right?
25 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: We are going to temporarily pass
2 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: All right.
3 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: If you have a question, though,
4 I thought -- all right, question.
5 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Question. Commissioner,
6 under the law of defamation, if I said about a public
7 official that he is not competent to hold office, that
8 would be defamatory under the law. If I was not, if I
9 deliberately made that up and I really didn't believe it,
10 that would be defamatory under the law. There is no
11 question about it. Because I'm saying to somebody, and
12 this is back in one of the areas of defamation, per se, to
13 say somebody is incompetent in their profession or calling
14 is the classic defamation, per se.
15 So that means that if I get up and I say to somebody,
16 This particular incumbent is not qualified, is incompetent
17 to hold office, I have now defamed him. Now the only
18 question that remains then would be whether I believe that
19 or I don't believe that because if I don't believe it, and
20 I'm therefore lying about it, therefore it is actionable.
21 So the problem is that we are opening up standard
22 political colloquy in hot races to a subsequent
23 determination after the fact about whether you want to
24 remove somebody, the Legislature wants to remove somebody
25 under an extremely vague standard.
1 Because political campaigns frequently bring forth
2 some heated statements and some factual observations like
3 this. They are defamatory beyond belief except that we
4 give a privilege to them to some extent. And if I can
5 show that he reasonably believed it or he believed it or
6 didn't know it was false, then I can escape being held
7 liable. But technically speaking, a statement about any
8 professional that they are incompetent to do their job and
9 a person is an incompetent lawyer, if he is a lawyer, that
10 is defamatory, per se.
11 So how in the world, if we are going to talk about
12 defamatory statements, or misrepresentations, how in the
13 world can that practically be brought into this without
14 opening the whole thing up to just the Legislature doing
15 whatever they want to? Because you can always come back
16 after the fact and take some political speech and show
17 that there is enough doubt as to whether or not it is true
18 or there is enough doubt as to whether or not somebody
19 believed it. How in the world can this possibly be a
20 workable proposal?
21 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Glad you asked that question.
22 Commissioner Freidin had that same concern last time,
23 which is why she introduced this fine amendment.
24 Commissioner Freidin might address that question.
25 (Chairman Douglass resumes the chair.)
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Freidin -- are you
2 yielding to her? Is that what I understand you are doing?
3 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes.
4 COMMISSIONER FREIDIN: He is yielding to me to answer
5 the torts professor over there. I don't know, I think I
6 might be in trouble here.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are going to grade you and not
8 a professor. So go ahead.
10 COMMISSIONER FREIDIN: Commissioner Wetherington,
11 there was a concern that I raised at our committee meeting
12 on just this subject. And based on that concern, rather
13 than having language in there that talks about a
14 falsehood, which is what Mr. Smith was referring to that
15 was in the original proposal, the amendment talks about a
16 judgment of libel or slander, which would then put us in
17 the whole realm of constitutional law and constitutional
18 protections for political speech.
19 And it is my understanding that a statement that a
20 politician for, who is a candidate for office, for
21 political office, a statement that that person is not
22 competent to hold the political office would not be
23 actionable, couldn't be the subject of a judgment for
24 libel or slander because there is no statement in there of
25 a fact that the person knows to be false.
1 In fact, it would be a statement of the person's
2 opinion not based on any fact. If they then stated false
3 facts that they knew to be false, then there would be
4 subject -- then they would be subject to a judgment.
5 The whole purpose here is that, is to leave to the
6 underlying, to leave to the court in the first instance if
7 there was, if there was libel or slander, if there wasn't
8 libel or slander then there could be no removal from
9 office. On the other hand, if the candidate who had
10 spoken the words that were alleged to be false did have a
11 judgment against him, then that would be the subject of a
12 possible removal.
13 And similar -- but I think you need to notice though
14 that what you are not talking about here is having to go
15 to court for any, for bribery or the other things that are
16 listed -- I have given away my copy of the amendment so I
17 don't have it here -- for bribery, fraud, deceit and such
18 other similar conduct. Those grounds for removal would be
19 determined by the removing body, whoever that might be.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Zack.
21 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Question of Commissioner Mills.
22 I have sat on the fair campaign practices committee, we
23 have one in Dade County, for probably a dozen years. And
24 it is very ineffective, generally speaking, because it has
25 no power. That's why I am in favor of what you are
1 proposing. The power it has is to call a press conference
2 and deal with the court of public opinion, which from time
3 to time is effective but it is often too late.
4 Let me give you an example of a situation. I want to
5 know how it would be interpreted under your proposal.
6 But you have a candidate who in running for office
7 states to the newspaper that they are in favor of the jury
8 override of the death penalty. And the night before the
9 election, the people in that district receive a postcard
10 from a person whose daughter was killed and that postcard
11 says that the candidate is, in effect, in favor of
12 criminals because they believe that a judge should not
13 override the jury. Now, is that a -- is that deceit? Is
14 that fraud? Or is that fair comment? Or is that
16 Similar type of allegations when you have a lawyer
17 who represents -- who is a criminal defense lawyer and
18 represents drug dealers. And a similar postcard is sent
19 saying that this person represents these drug dealers, and
20 they do in fact represent the drug dealers, and therefore
21 you can assume that lawyer is not in favor of tough drug
23 I mean, is this fair comment? Or is it fraud and
24 deceit? And my concern, because I like what you are
25 trying to do, is I'm trying to avoid these cases ending up
1 in court for long periods of time and the public not
2 knowing who is elected, and potentially going through a
3 number of new elections which are very, very expensive in
4 the large counties.
5 So if you could respond to how applying what you
6 propose to those two fact situations, what the results
7 would be, I'd like to know.
8 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Partially this would depend on
9 what the Legislature implements because this authorizes
10 the Legislature to do something and to augment the penalty
11 to include removal. It seems to me though, and from what
12 you are saying, there is no ability or really no intent
13 and it probably is not a good idea to do away with
14 campaign comment. Exaggeration is not a crime. You can't
15 be removed from office for exaggeration.
16 If I understand what you are saying, they would not
17 rise to the level of libel or slander.
18 (Off-the-record comment.)
19 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well fraud and deceit would have
20 to be proved as well by a legislative standard.
21 COMMISSIONER ZACK: You are saying that neither of
22 those comments would constitute fraud or deceit?
23 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I'm not sure I understood the
24 entire context of both of those comments.
25 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Do you think either of those have
1 any element of deceit?
2 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well --
3 COMMISSIONER ZACK: I just want to know what we are
4 passing. And I'm all in favor of eliminating the fraud
5 and deceit, I hope we can do it. But I want to make sure
6 that if we are going to do it, we do it. And I want to
7 make sure your amendment provides for what is necessary to
8 make this an effective amendment.
9 COMMISSIONER MILLS: What I would suggest is
10 Commissioner Barnett and Commissioner, I think, Rundle
11 wanted to have a chance to insert some language in this,
12 so --
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I believe Commissioner Scott told
14 me we were sort of waiting here for an amendment; is that
16 COMMISSIONER MILLS: That's correct, Mr. Chairman,
17 but I think we are better off if we can temporarily pass
18 it for a few minutes and come right back to it.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: If we temporarily pass it for a
20 few minutes, we are going to move on to one and we are not
21 going to come right back to it. I'd like to go ahead and
22 finish it if you can hurry up and do this. No
23 filibusters. Do you have a question over here?
24 I do have a question for you, you are an expert in
25 Florida history, if we had outlawed lies in campaigns,
1 would we have much history left?
3 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well I think all the results
4 that have elected the fine people of this state so far
5 have been fairly honest.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: How about the Governor Scholtz
7 election? He got elected, but -- you are familiar with
8 that; aren't you?
9 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I am familiar with that and for
10 that reason I think we probably need to discuss future
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: In other words, that's a good
13 example of what you are talking about?
14 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Let everybody in on what that is.
16 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I'm not sure --
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well that's the one where the
18 opponent, ex-Governor Martin's people -- Governor Scholtz,
19 later became Governor, had a very, very attractive and
20 lovely wife and her name was a certain maiden name. And
21 they found a prostitute by the same name who had been
22 arrested in Jacksonville and spread around the state that
23 that was his wife. And as luck would have it, most of us
24 know, once they saw this lady and how gracious she was, it
25 backfired tremendously and helped elect Governor Scholtz.
1 But that's just a little minor example of some of our
2 great history as it relates to campaigns. They are not
3 nearly as dirty now as they were then.
4 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I certainly believe you if you
5 say that.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well I'm old enough. I'm just
7 killing time for you. Commissioner Evans. You are next,
8 Commissioner Rundle. Question?
9 COMMISSIONER EVANS: Question of Commissioner Mills.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills, do you yield
11 to Commissioner Evans? Go ahead.
12 COMMISSIONER EVANS: Commissioner Freidin brought
13 this to my mind. She said, you know, whoever the removing
14 body would be. And I guess I have a concern that who the
15 removing body is is not here in the Constitution, who do
16 you envision being the removing body and is it an elected
17 body or an appointed body?
18 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Commissioner, it doesn't change
19 the existing procedures. I think I mentioned, each house
20 of the Legislature would continue to judge its own
21 members, based on this standard. The Governor for
22 executive officers and the Legislature for impeachable
23 officers. In other words, it doesn't change the process
24 for removal, it adds a new standard.
25 COMMISSIONER EVANS: Okay.
1 COMMISSIONER MILLS: And the Supreme Court for
2 judges. Those are the -- as the staff researched this --
3 in other words, the concept is it simply provides a new
4 basis upon which you can remove. And each house of the
5 Legislature will judge based on, that's what it does now
6 for removal; the Governor for executive officers, the
7 Legislature for impeachable officers and the Supreme Court
8 for judges.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Let's see, somebody
10 else was up. Nod if you are about ready over there.
11 Commissioner Henderson.
12 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I was reminded of another
13 piece of history over here and I thought I would ask
14 Commissioner Mills if he might see if this would help out,
15 a reflection of history.
16 But I recall -- I don't recall, I wasn't born yet --
17 but I recall reading about the election of 1952 where it
18 was alleged that Senator Pepper had matriculated in
19 college and that his sister was a known thespian.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It was 1950.
21 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: 1950, all right. I don't
22 know if those statements were true or not, but it
23 certainly could have -- would this have affected that at
24 all, sir?
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well they were true as I
2 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I guess they were true.
4 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, we do have three
5 constitutional scholars and one staff member here and if
6 we could temporarily pass this until the end of the day, I
7 think we need to because they are in a language dispute.
8 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Question for Commissioner Mills.
9 I want to go back to Commissioner Henderson's discussion.
10 My first employer, as you know, Senator Pepper, who
11 honestly felt there was a little deceit there. And can
12 you doubt there is any deceit intended when you have a
13 known thespian and -- these are comments that were made
14 only for one purpose and there can't be a question that
15 they were made for deceit purposes; isn't that correct?
16 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Commissioner Thompson, are you
17 prepared to answer this question?
18 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well, are we waiting on
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yeah.
21 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I have a story I'd like to
22 tell, Mr. Chairman.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Very good. I think the thespian
24 question begs itself.
25 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Now wait a minute, I don't
1 know anything about them.
2 No, I'll tell you what, I had just gotten elected to
3 the Florida House of Representatives. My district went
4 from Chattahoochee to Perry and all the way down to the
5 coast. I mean that was a big district.
6 And so it was the first session, and it was in the
7 old capitol, we were still in the old capitol. Although
8 the House and the Senate wings were already occupied, we
9 were still meeting in the old capitol. So I was sitting
10 there during the first session, and I mean I was as quiet
11 as a mouse.
12 And here comes the sergeant at arms in and says,
13 Representative Thompson, would you mind if we put a chair
14 here? And I said, No, help yourself. Who is going to sit
15 there? And he said, Senator Claude Pepper. And I said,
16 Senator Claude Pepper, why is he wanting to sit by me? I
17 knew he was from Dade County, you know, and been
18 representing Dade County for years.
19 And he came in and he sat down by me, you know, and
20 he said, Mr. Thompson, he said, it is a privilege and a
21 pleasure to meet you today and share with you some of my
22 thoughts about Perry and Taylor County, Florida.
24 Well if anybody ever heard him, you might notice a
25 little resemblance. Well, as soon as he left, of
1 course -- I learned this imitation because the first
2 commentator on TV here, Mr. Chairman, was his brother,
3 Frank Pepper, you know. And I was about 15 years old when
4 we got our first TV and we had been sitting around at the
5 supper table every night trying to mock everybody we knew.
6 So we had some new characters to work with. So anyway,
7 we, all of my family, everybody got to where they could
8 talk like that guy.
9 So anyway, as soon as he left, I jumped up and got
10 the microphone and I just kind of imitated him a little
11 bit, you know. So I made -- I wanted everyone to hear
12 what he said to me, I wanted to share with you my thoughts
13 about the people in Perry and Taylor County, Florida,
14 where I began my political career, and --
15 (Off-the-record comment by Commissioner Thompson.)
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: They have cut you off.
17 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: They keep cutting me off.
18 The next year he came back. So he was escorted in by
19 the Dade delegation, you know, and they got him up to the
20 rostrum and that's what he always did. He would just
21 stand up there and grab both sides. And if you ever heard
22 him speak, I mean, he could talk.
23 And he said, My friends in the Florida Legislature,
24 it is a privilege and an honor to be with you today and
25 share with you my imitation of Representative James Harold
3 And I do that with all honor and respect for him
4 today, Mr. Chairman.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Thank you. Now you have had
6 plenty of time and good stories.
7 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well unless there are a lot of
8 other good stories that will go on for a couple hours, we
9 still need to temporarily pass this, Mr. Chairman. But I
10 want to take credit for all of this entertainment.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are going to temporarily pass
12 it, but as soon as we finish with the next item, the next
13 is going to be a significant item for discussion. So, you
14 know, you can quit standing around in the chamber and
15 doing this, and we will proceed to the next proposal,
16 which is a Committee Substitute for Proposals 159, 163 and
17 182. Now, do you have that committee substitute that you
18 can read the title?
19 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
20 Nos. 159, 163 and 182, a proposal to Article IV, Sections
21 3(b), 4, and 8, and Article XII, Section 9(c), Florida
22 Constitution; and create Section 22, Article XII, Florida
23 Constitution; providing for membership of the Florida
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. This is Cabinet
1 reform and the committee chairman, Commissioner Alfonso,
2 is recognized to present the committee substitute.
3 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
4 guess, as you said, this is one of the most important
5 issues that we are going to address, or at least we
6 thought so when we began and I still believe so. I would
7 like to recognize the good work of my committee, this did
8 pass favorably out of our committee. Again, what we have
9 presented is a substitute for Proposals 159, 163 and 182.
10 Just to bring you guys back to our organizing
11 session, if you will remember the comments made by
12 Governors Chiles, Kirk and Askew, I would like to just
13 remind you of those very quickly. Governor Chiles
14 expressed his hopes that the commission would take a look
15 at developing a better way for the Governor and the
16 Cabinet to serve our people. And he explained that
17 Cabinet reform would not impact him, but it impacts the
18 people of Florida.
19 Governor Kirk, and I would like to quote him because
20 I enjoyed his quote, "No unaccountable Cabinet can lead to
21 or even toward any of the freedoms that we pay for
22 everyday. Convince yourselves and then convince our old
23 fainthearted of the state, as well as the new and confused
24 folks of Florida to make the Governor the Governor.
25 Demand a leader to lead."
1 And then Governor Askew shared that in the beginning
2 our legislative branch had been weak and had been
3 distributed over many offices and the power had been
4 dispersed. And checks and balances were added to ensure
5 that the executive did not become too strong. Well, we
6 have corrected the legislative branch. The judicial
7 branch is also strong, as it should be, but the executive
8 branch isn't. It remains not as strong as the other two.
9 Governor Askew had these words for us, and I quote
10 him, "Don't be hesitant to take a look at this. It may be
11 your feeling that it won't pass, maybe you don't want to
12 change it. You do not have an executive branch of
13 government that can respond to the people on public policy
14 as a Governor could with a singular voice. One of the
15 things we found in the Legislature with my predecessor is
16 that as much as we disagreed, we were diffused and
17 couldn't really get any public forum.
18 "The Governor is still the one that has the forum and
19 is the only one that, in effect, can challenge the people.
20 If you really want to have a Governor lead and not just
21 respond to what the polls say, frankly, you need to give
22 the Governor the authority of the office and then I think
23 you will find it better than it is now." That is the end
24 of this quote.
25 Now we didn't hear directly from Governor Martinez,
1 but I have taken the opportunity to discuss with Governor
2 Martinez his feelings. And he shares these sentiments and
3 it's clear from the records of the Askew Commission that
4 he favors this philosophy.
5 Our first speaker in Panama City I believe was a
6 representative of the Florida League of Women Voters which
7 strongly urged Cabinet reform. Their proposal was even
8 stronger than the one that we are going to propose today.
9 The Common Cause group, to quote them also, said
10 "Florida should" -- this is a quote from their statement,
11 "Florida should have a Governor that is the elected
12 executive accountable for all state departments. There's
13 not one person that we can hold accountable for the
14 actions of the executive branch currently." And that is a
15 quote from their statement.
16 Now I know a number spoke against this, but we have
17 had a great outcry or a great bit of dialogue in our
18 public hearings, as you remember, on this. I'm sure that
19 you will remember in Tampa when we had a joint appearance
20 from General Milligan, the Comptroller, and Treasurer Bill
21 Nelson. They presented a compromised position, which was,
22 I guess, kind of in the middle between the wholesale
23 abolishment of the Cabinet and what we have today.
24 And let me just go back to where we were in our
25 committee. The hardest thing for us I think in this
1 committee was just to try to get our hands around this.
2 We really started with charts and diagrams and just trying
3 to understand really what this meant and how it worked and
4 what these proposed changes could lead to.
5 The proposals we had, and we had speakers really
6 referring to all aspects of changing it, and also a good
7 sentiment to leave it the way it was. We have kind of
8 settled on this proposal, or a form of this proposal
9 brought forth by General Milligan and Treasurer Nelson.
10 And what this proposal does is it decreases the size of
11 the Cabinet so that the Governor and the Cabinet become a
12 three officer board. They are all three elected.
13 The Attorney General and a Treasurer, which combines
14 the duties of the Comptroller and the Treasurer, they --
15 it allows for collegial decision-making with the Governor,
16 but an affirmative action of this Cabinet involves the
17 Governor's vote and the vote of one other member of the
19 They will -- their decision-making powers are going
20 to be I guess vital in areas of law enforcement, taxes,
21 bonding and environmental policy. And those issues will
22 still remain debatable in the public forum, as it is
24 We have got -- other sections of this bill that we
25 have proposed is the State Board of Administration. And
1 the makeup of the board would be comprised of the
2 Governor, the Treasurer, and the Attorney General, or this
3 new Cabinet.
4 We have had -- this new Cabinet continues to exercise
5 authority over the trustees for the ownership of state
6 land, and I guess these duties remain constitutional
8 Now, there is schedule language which has been added
9 to the proposal which says that this system would apply
10 beginning with the general election cycle in the year
11 2002, and the operative changes taking effect on January
12 the 7th of 2003, when those new officers take office. We
13 have added a statement that the newly-created officers of
14 Treasurer and Attorney General are to be considered new
15 offices, and not simply extensions of the offices as they
16 exist today. And that is to avoid foreseeable litigation
17 in regard to whether term limits would apply to this or
19 We have provided some documents for you, we have got
20 charts, we have got copies of the proposals that were
21 presented to us in committee that you can look at and kind
22 of see what we tried to get our hands around and what we
23 encompassed in our rationale to get to this point.
24 I guess at this point, Mr. Chairman, we could go to
25 the amendatory process and I will reserve further comments
1 for the closing.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. I had a question.
3 Does this still leave the right for the Legislature to
4 give these people additional departments, or has that been
5 taken care of in this?
6 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: No, it still leaves that
7 right, as I understand.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So that the Legislature could
9 still make the Treasurer the Insurance Commissioner and
10 this sort of thing.
11 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: As I understand it, that's
12 correct, sir.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Riley.
14 COMMISSIONER RILEY: A question for the Commissioner.
15 Proposition 182 specifically was one that was recommended
16 by the Common Cause and League of Women Voters. You have
17 changed that, not a great deal, but you have changed that.
18 Are they still in support of this as a committee
19 substitute, or did they speak to that?
20 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Well, I think they would
21 rather have their own proposal.
22 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Which was 182.
23 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: I think that the intent of
24 their proposal or at least the strengthening of the
25 executive, of the Governor's Office is there. Their
1 proposal called for six appointed by the Governor. So
2 whether -- I really haven't talked to them whether they
3 are in favor of this proposal or not. I mean, we got the
4 world as far as proposals went. I mean, we had really, as
5 you can see from the chart, we had a lot of different
6 makeup proposals come to us.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Butterworth.
8 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, if the
9 Commissioner will yield for a question.
10 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: I will yield.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: He yields.
12 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Back in 1993, the Governor
13 and Cabinet on their own motion looked at themselves and
14 studied themselves as a Governor and Cabinet and what they
15 should do.
16 Since they could not do a constitutional amendment at
17 that time, they could only make suggestions to the
18 Legislature, they did a lot of things that you are asking
19 for right here, with the exception of abolishing some of
20 them, even though there is a lot of conversation about
21 doing that, but of course the Legislature can't abolish,
22 only the people can through the Constitution. Then again
23 in 1996, we had the Askew-Martinez Commission that also
24 dealt with this area. The Legislature made some changes,
25 did not make other changes.
1 The one thing which I would like to basically ask you
2 a question on is that in 1993, when we went very far with
3 the proposals, we found that the one issue that most of
4 the legislators and perhaps some of the public were
5 concerned about was what the makeup of the Florida
6 Department of Law Enforcement was different than most
7 state polices perhaps in the country, to where the Florida
8 Department of Law Enforcement works very closely with
9 three entities of government, and that's the Governor, the
10 Comptroller, Treasurer and the Attorney General.
11 I do believe -- did you have any discussion on that
12 particular issue of keeping the Florida Department of Law
13 Enforcement under these three Cabinet members or did you
14 pretty much not discuss that?
15 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: We had so many discussions. I
16 think that we discussed it at one time briefly, and we
17 said that we would keep it under that, under this Cabinet.
18 Commissioner Thompson, do you recall that? We discussed
19 it briefly in one of our meetings.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Thompson, he yields
21 to you.
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I think I can help him on
23 that. Based on my memory, I believe we discussed that.
24 And I know that the consensus of the group was that we
25 don't want a state police force, we want a collegial body
1 to have that jurisdiction. Now, I don't know of anything
2 that's in here about that. If we need to change that, we
3 might want to consider that. But the alternative we had
4 before us was to do otherwise and we didn't want to do
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. It would take an
7 amendment, as I read this, to do that. And I think that
8 was probably what the committee thought they were going to
9 do; is that right?
10 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Yes. And just to clarify,
11 right now this proposal allows the Legislature to retain
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. So if somebody drafts an
14 amendment, we can consider that to this proposal.
15 Commissioner Thompson.
16 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I don't think we need an
17 amendment unless you want to nail it down in the
18 Constitution. If you do, that's fine, I'll vote for it.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: What I'm saying is that you
20 nailed down several other things and it would probably be
21 appropriate to nail this too.
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. I certainly am in
23 favor of that. And that it was the tenor of the group I
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: My recollection is the discussion
1 I heard was the most powerful agency in many places is the
2 gun. And you never wanted to put the gun under one
3 particular person, and that it was therefore appropriate
4 to put the gun under the collegial body. I think that's
5 what General Butterworth had said. It would take an
6 amendment to do that; is that correct? I think that's
7 right. All right.
8 Commissioner Riley, I believe you were up.
9 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Mr. Chairman, my question is
10 this: There is an amendment on what was handed out that
11 affects Article IX, specifically the State Board of
12 Education, which, in fact, is very specifically also
13 Proposal 166. So my question is this: If this does not
14 pass, can Proposition 166 then stand on its own merits?
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, it's still on the calendar,
16 it would have to be dealt with after this.
17 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Thank you.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
19 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I was going to give the same
20 response that the Chair did.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'm glad. I'm not always right,
22 but I'm not very seldom in doubt. Commissioner Nabors --
23 excuse me, Commissioner Henderson.
24 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Same issue, you recognized
25 him first.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: How do you know?
2 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Because we have been winking at
3 each other.
4 The question is is that previously we passed a
5 proposal which changed who could head an executive agency
6 that eliminated the provision that said that an executive
7 agency can be headed by the Cabinet. That would create
8 the problem that's been raised in terms of the Florida
9 Department of Law Enforcement. I don't think that
10 anything in here prevents the current Constitution from
11 allowing the Legislature to allow an executive head to be
12 even the revised Cabinet as a whole.
13 You might want to nail this down specifically, but
14 the problem that we have, to be candid with the body, is
15 that that's a concern that I hadn't thought about on that
16 proposal that Commissioner Henderson and I had talked
17 about. We may want to revise that proposal if it survives
18 the process when it comes up to make sure that we didn't
19 inadvertently allow all of the power of the police to be
20 placed in one executive department.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Correct. All right. Is that the
22 point that you had?
23 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I would answer his question
24 by saying I agree with him. I think that in the Corr
25 proposal that was passed out at our last session, we
1 eliminated the Governor and Cabinet as a plural executive,
2 as collectively the head of a department. So this would
3 have had that effect. I see nothing in this proposal
4 which addresses that issue of the plural executive.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Am I understanding what you are
6 saying is that, my original question I think asked was
7 this does not limit this group, collegial group, when they
8 are acting as a collegial group, to have additional items
9 put under them. Because my understanding was that that
10 was one of the major proposals, that we would create a
11 Cabinet which would be a Cabinet limited to their
12 constitutional duties. And that's not the case with this
13 proposal; is it, Mr. Chairman? All right. So your
14 question goes to that point.
15 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Yes. My point is that
16 that's one bit of Cabinet reform that we have already
17 undertaken as a body here. My question is to my chairman,
18 Commissioner Alfonso. For the benefit of the other
19 commissioners, this was -- although this was a favorable
20 report from the committee, there was some dissension on
21 that. And so if I could inquire just a little bit as to
22 some of the things that we actually accomplished here.
23 I think with regard to Ms. Riley's question, the
24 proposal as it stands, it eliminates the elected education
25 commissioner, and how then does it -- what do we do about
1 that position? Let me ask that.
2 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Well, in our discussions, we
3 would then take up another proposal or other proposals to
4 deal with the Commissioner of Education and Commissioner
5 of Agriculture, or however those things may need to be
6 dealt with by the body. But in this proposal, yes, it
7 does eliminate them.
8 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: So, it would eliminate the
9 position of Agricultural Commissioner; is that correct?
10 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Correct.
11 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: You mentioned and you know
12 this is an area that's near and dear to my heart, but you
13 said, and I haven't been able to find this, that it is
14 your opinion that this provision retains the ability of
15 the revised Cabinet to handle environmental matters.
16 Where is that language? I'm missing that.
17 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Well, it's really over the
18 ownership of state lands is the way that we have dealt
19 with it here. So I don't know, you know, environmental
20 matters. I mean, for example, now the new Game and Fish
21 Commission stands constitutionally alone. So it really
22 is, right now, in this proposal limited to that.
23 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: So this does not address
24 then the issues of the Cabinet acting in an appellate
25 capacity handling or acting as land and water, help me out
1 here, acting in an appellate capacity either as the Board
2 of Administration or the land and water -- help me with
3 it, Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission; is that right?
4 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: That's my understanding, yes.
5 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Okay. Thank you.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett.
7 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: For some questions, please.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes.
9 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: This may be a question
10 actually for Commissioner Henderson or Nabors, I'm not
11 sure. Unfortunately, I was not here on Thursday when we
12 met and I would like someone to explain in a little bit
13 more detail the discussion that I've been hearing about a
14 proposal that was adopted, which it sounded to me like
15 what we did then was to adopt a proposal that deleted the
16 Cabinet as the collegial head of state agencies, such as
17 Department of Revenue, Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,
18 Management Services. Is that what was done last Thursday?
19 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: That's correct.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's what we thought we did.
21 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: That's what I recommended to
22 the body. So there's no slight of hand here, the very
23 commission report, the Martinez Commission, I read from
24 and made the recommendation based on that report.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's exactly right. If you had
1 been here, I don't think you would have had any doubt from
2 Commissioner Henderson's explanation of that. It was not
3 your proposal, it was Commissioner Corr's proposal we were
4 dealing with.
5 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: So combining that proposal
6 with this proposal, if it is adopted, then the function of
7 a Cabinet as revised would be limited to those entities
8 actually specified and those activities -- the collegial
9 duties of the Cabinet would be limited to Trustees of the
10 Internal Improvement Trust Fund, if you do an amendment on
11 FDLE, the various things that we heard, and all of the
12 functions the Cabinet currently performs as State Board
13 of -- I mean, Board of Education, Department of Revenue,
14 Highway Safety, Management Services, that whole litany
15 would no longer be Cabinet functions.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think that's correct.
17 Commissioner Alfonso, that's why it wasn't in this
18 proposal, because it was in the other one.
19 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: That language has not been
20 removed that says that duties specified here, they shall
21 exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be
22 prescribed by law.
23 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Except that the question I'm
24 having is that when you look -- you need to mesh this
25 proposal -- this is truly a question, I need to understand
1 this to know how I feel about this proposal -- you need to
2 mesh this with the one that Commissioner Henderson had on
4 And what I think my question is is if both passed,
5 would we be in a position where the current functions of
6 the Cabinet, which is to sit as a collegial head of a
7 number of state agencies, would be constitutionally
8 prohibited, and that the Cabinet, as a collegial body,
9 would be limited to those matters actually detailed in
10 this proposal?
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The answer to that, I'll
12 volunteer this. Because if this one passed, as it is, and
13 the other one has already passed, when they go to Style
14 and Drafting, they may want to consider combining those
15 for presentation, because they do affect what you say.
16 And since we have already passed by a significant
17 margin the Corr and the Henderson, Commissioner Henderson
18 spoke to it, then if that's there and then we adopt this,
19 which specifies certain duties, then it would be within
20 the, and I would so rule, within the duties of the Style
21 and Drafting Committee to make sure that those two were
22 either combined or were complementary. Does that answer
23 your question?
24 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Procedurally that does, but
25 substantively is what I'm -- the substantive effect of --
1 assuming both of these proposals receive the requisite
2 votes, the substantive effect will be that the Cabinet
3 will consist of three individuals and that the current
4 collegial duties of the Cabinet, which are generally
5 specified by statute, are now constitutionally limited to
6 just Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund,
7 State Board of Administration and whatever else we add,
8 and clemency, and whatever else we add.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think that's correct.
10 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: That is correct, that is if
11 Style and Drafting chooses to put these together.
12 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: It doesn't have anything to do
13 with Style and Drafting --
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, no --
15 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: -- if these are separate
16 proposals, the combined effect -- the question is: Is the
17 combined effect of the two proposals what I just stated?
18 And I think I hear yes, the answer is yes.
19 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Yes.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now, we have passed that already,
21 Commissioner Barnett, so that if this passed in its
22 present form, you are absolutely correct, we would have
23 proposed that the Cabinet that survives in 2003, I believe
24 is the date this becomes effective, that these functions
25 would have to be provided as provided by law, but not by
1 this collegial body.
2 All right, Commissioner Riley again.
3 COMMISSIONER RILEY: My question is to anybody who
4 can answer it, I guess. Understanding Commissioner
5 Barnett's question and the answer to that question, does
6 that mean that that is simply limited to that? Can the
7 Legislature not add other responsibilities of oversight to
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: If you read the Corr amendment,
10 which I believe everybody voted for --
11 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Okay.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- it says they won't. All
13 right. Further discussion? Have we read this? Maybe we
14 ought to read it, it would sure help.
15 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Thompson, on Page 2,
16 Line 7, and on Page 3, Line 1, on Page 3, Line 9, on Page
17 3, Line 16, on Page 8, Line 1, strike "treasurer" and
18 insert "chief financial officer."
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The amendment --
20 Commissioner Thompson, your amendment has been read.
21 Would you like to --
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I think it's
23 self-explanatory. Everywhere the word "treasurer" is
24 referred to in the proposal I want to change it to "chief
25 financial officer." I think that is a more accurate term
1 for the new office.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Does everybody
3 understand the amendment? Any discussion? If not, all in
4 favor say aye; all opposed?
5 (Verbal vote taken.)
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, I cast the tie-breaking
7 vote, which is yes. Now, do you want everybody to vote on
8 that amendment or do you want to let it ride? All right.
9 The next amendment, please.
10 READING CLERK: By Commissioners Butterworth and
11 Thompson, on Page 3 between Lines 19 and 20, insert, (f),
12 the Governor as chair, the Treasurer and the Attorney
13 General shall constitute the agency head of the Department
14 of Law Enforcement.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Butterworth.
16 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, I think I
17 have explained it to you before. I'd be willing to accept
18 any questions.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further
20 discussion or questions? What this does is make the
21 Florida Department of Law Enforcement constitute one of
22 the, more of the agencies that the collegial body, in this
23 case the Governor, the Attorney General and Chief
24 Financial Officer would be the agency head. It would be
25 an exception to what you were asking about.
1 Is that right, Commissioner Butterworth? Do you have
2 a questioner, Commissioner Barnett?
3 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I do, of Commissioner
4 Butterworth, just to understand how this would work.
5 Currently we have FDLE and we also have the Department of
6 Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which has the Florida
7 Highway Patrol. The Cabinet currently sits as head of the
8 Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and has a
9 collegial body control over that agency, including the
10 Highway Patrol.
11 Would you envision, in light of the proposal that
12 limits collegial bodies for state -- the Cabinet being the
13 collegial head of state agencies, as that having any
14 impact on the Highway Patrol? Would they be incorporated
15 into this proposal or is there any impact at all on that?
16 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, it is the
17 intent of the motion not to affect the Highway Patrol.
18 Highway Patrol is under Department of Highway Safety. If
19 at a point in time in the future the Legislature was to
20 move Highway Patrol or Marine Patrol, whatever, into the
21 Department of Law Enforcement, then the Cabinet would have
22 authority. But as it stands right now, they would not.
23 It would take legislative action to bring it in there.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further
25 questions? All in favor of the amendment say aye.
1 (Verbal vote taken.)
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment carries. All
3 right. We have another amendment on the table.
4 Oh, for the record, correct your copy of that to show
5 that where it says the "treasurer," that should read the
6 "chief financial officer," in order to be consistent with
7 the proposal. That is the way it is on the table, so
8 correct your copies of that. Thank you very much. All
9 right, the next amendment.
10 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Alfonso, on Page 7,
11 Lines 25, insert Section 5, Section 2 of Article IX of the
12 Florida Constitution and revised by amending the section
13 to read: Article IX, education, Section 2, State Board of
14 Education, the State Board of Education shall be a body
15 corporate and have such supervision of the system of
16 public education as is provided by law. The State Board
17 of Education shall consist of seven members appointed by
18 the Governor to staggered four-year terms, subject to
19 confirmation by the Senate. The State Board of Education
20 shall appoint the Commissioner of Education.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Alfonso, that is
22 your amendment. You are recognized to speak on your
24 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: This is just really a fit with
25 Commissioner Riley's amendment. If she wants to explain
1 it, it's pretty self-explanatory.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Riley.
3 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I have a whole speech on it,
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Please go ahead and make your
6 speech. If you prepared it, we all are waiting with bated
7 breath to hear it.
8 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Just to understand, though, that
9 this proposal can and will also be voted on its own as
10 Proposal 166, even if it passes with this, correct?
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It could be.
12 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Well, I would like it to be. So
13 do I want to speak against this amendment?
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, not if you are for what it
16 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I'm very much for what it does.
17 And speaking for it, I'll tell you that I'm not the only
18 one that is for what it does. So is the Cornerstone
19 Report from the Committee of 100, so is the Governor's
20 commissioner on Education, Commission on Education. And
21 this was one of their four specific things that they came
22 out with.
23 I feel very strongly that this type of change in our
24 organization will do, in fact, what seems to continually
25 be happening with commissions, such as the Commission on
1 Education that was taken as a special group that was
2 pulled together to do what a State Board of Education
3 should do. It would provide better continuity, better
4 oversight and a better overall planning and overall
5 interfacing of the entire educational system.
6 So, I do feel very strongly about this. I don't want
7 this proposal as a whole to live or die on this State
8 Board of Education. But I will support this part of it.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, let me say that no proposal
10 is off the table. So if you are for it, you better be for
11 it when it comes up and then you can be for it again, if
12 you like. I mean, if that's what you want to do.
13 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I speak in favor of the
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Very well. Commissioner
17 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: I have a question of
18 either Commissioner Henderson or Commissioner Nabors. In
19 the Corr amendment that we passed the other day, where was
20 the Department of Law Enforcement going to be? Who would
21 be in charge of that?
22 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I would be glad to answer
23 that. It did not address that issue. So the Legislature
24 would have had to designate the Governor or the Attorney
25 General or an additional department head.
1 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: So under that it could not
2 have been the collegial body which is now this amendment;
3 is that correct?
4 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I think we have already
5 passed that amendment, so.
6 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Yes, we did. But I have a
7 question now about the Division of Motor Vehicles and
8 Highway Safety. Explain that to me in the Corr amendment,
9 exactly what that did.
10 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman, I'll be glad
11 to answer that question, but I think that we are kind of
12 off the subject.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think so. Maybe, Commissioner
14 Evans-Jones, at a later time you can address that with
15 Commissioner Henderson. Commissioner Marshall, you are
16 recognized unless -- do you yield to Commissioner
17 Marshall? You have the floor.
18 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Thank you. A question for
19 either Commissioner Riley or Commissioner Alfonso. There
20 appears to be no stipulation in the measure for the
21 appointed Commissioner of Education to have oversight of
22 the state university system or the community college
23 system. What is your intention about that?
24 COMMISSIONER RILEY: The intent is that it not. The
25 intent is that it interface with the Board of Regents and
1 also with the community college board, but that in no way
2 does it -- is it an umbrella organization over those two
4 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Would the Commissioner of
5 Education sit on those boards as he does now?
6 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I would certainly recommend it,
7 but that would be at the decision of those boards. It is
8 not a part of this amendment.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Henderson has an
10 amendment to the amendment that probably should be
11 presented in connection to your question, Commissioner
12 Marshall. So I'm going to recognize his amendment to the
13 amendment, which is on the table. Would you read it,
15 READING CLERK: Amendment to amendment by
16 Commissioner Henderson, delete last sentence.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now, Commissioner Henderson, tell
18 us what that does.
19 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
20 This will be -- beginning my discussion here, we talked
21 about this in the committee, I am a fervent believer in
22 our current Cabinet system. So as we continue to move on
23 to this discussion, this will be the first part of this.
24 But the amendment which I have proposed deletes the
25 last sentence of the Riley amendment, which would say that
1 the Board of Education shall appoint a Commissioner of
2 Education. The first part of this amendment, of the Riley
3 amendment would take -- would accomplish some Cabinet
4 reform by creating a new Board of Education that would not
5 be the Cabinet, currently now the Cabinet is the Board of
7 So you could accomplish some Cabinet reform by
8 creating a new Board of Education and transferring that
9 responsibility from the Cabinet to a new Board of
10 Education, which might well be a good idea. But in
11 keeping with the arguments that I'm going to be making in
12 a few more minutes, I like the idea of an elected
13 Commissioner of Education.
14 We had a very wonderful debate in these chambers the
15 last time that we were here. Actually, there were two
16 pieces of it. We had an extraordinary debate on
17 Commissioner Mills' proposal about adequacy in education,
18 about the discussion of the language from the 1868
19 Constitution that education is paramount. And I think we
20 all agree, it is the most important thing we do. It is
21 what more state resources are spent on than anything else.
22 And we had an extraordinary debate in these chambers
23 on a proposal by Commissioner Brochin on the fundamental
24 right to education. I think it is the most important
25 thing we do, I think we all agreed to that.
1 So tell me why we would detract or take away or step
2 back from electing someone with a statewide perspective on
3 education? I think the system we have works fine. I
4 think it's nice to have some person run for a position
5 focusing on the needs of education in this state, from
6 colleges down to the schools, and to take that debate out
7 to the state, from one end to the other. It is a
8 wonderful exercise.
9 The same is true for the other provision, other
10 members of the Cabinet, but I would say particularly for
11 the issue of education. So, that is my amendment. It
12 would keep an elected Commissioner of Education.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The amendment to the
14 amendment is on the floor which has the effect of -- well,
15 it does strike the last sentence to the amendment which
16 reads, "The State Board of Education shall appoint the
17 Commissioner of Education." That would be stricken on the
18 amendment to the amendment. All right.
19 Before we go forward, the discussion now should be on
20 the amendment to the amendment. And you are next,
21 Commissioner Scott, but Commissioner Marshall was in the
22 middle of a question I think relating somewhat to this
23 subject so I'm going to recognize him to complete his
25 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Mr. Chair, I really wanted to
1 try to respond to Commissioner Henderson's question a
2 moment ago. So I'm not sure that I'm before Commissioner
3 Scott. Am I?
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You go ahead while you are up.
5 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: The question that
6 Commissioner Henderson raised I think is very basic. I
7 served on that commission on Cabinet reform, 1995-'96, I
8 guess it was, along with Commissioner Evans-Jones. We
9 debated that at length. If there was a unanimous
10 sentiment on the part of the members of that commission,
11 it was that we ought to do something to strengthen the
12 executive branch. We have a weak Governor and we are all
13 impeded by that.
14 It's hard for me to come to the support of
15 Commissioner Riley's amendment, but I think I'm going to
16 do so. For the reason that if we are going to -- if we
17 are serious about strengthening the Governorship, there's
18 no better place to start than with education. It is the
19 biggest piece, as far as I'm concerned, the most important
20 piece of state government. It's that to which we give
21 most of our money, and therefore we ought to give most of
22 our sentiment, our attention, our heart.
23 But if we are going to strengthen the Governorship,
24 it seems to me we have to be serious about it. And
25 therefore, Commissioner Henderson, in a sense, I'm saying
1 that I'm making the sacrifice, that's with tongue in
2 cheek. But I think there has to be a sacrificial attitude
3 on the part of somebody, if we are going to move to the
4 executive branch real strength and real support.
5 And for that reason, I hesitantly but sincerely come
6 to support Commissioner Riley's amendment.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Jennings, didn't
8 your committee recommend that the Commissioner of
9 Education be appointed, by lopsided vote as I recall? I
10 think I was there when you-all voted.
11 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: Well we did a couple of
12 things. Seemed like we sent it out, and I would have to
13 have somebody revisit the vote as to whether it was
14 substantially lopsided, but the secretary is looking as we
15 go. But I think we sent out a recommendation for an
16 appointed commissioner that then went to the Executive
17 Branch Committee, the committee handling the executive
19 We also dealt, help me, Commissioner Riley, with the
20 issue of the State Board of Education as it would
21 interface with an appointed commissioner. And I think we
22 sent one of those out as well and I think it went that way
23 too. So I don't know what they looked like once the next
24 committee got through with them.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well my question was I thought
1 that your committee voted for whatever amount it was, to
2 have an appointed Commissioner of Education. I read that
3 when your report came through, Commissioner Marshall is on
4 that --
5 COMMMISSIONER JENNINGS: That's safe to say.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- Commissioner Marshall is on
7 that committee and Commissioner Riley is the vice
8 chairman, too. And then you are telling me that went to
9 Executive on the next referral and, Commissioner Alfonso,
10 your response.
11 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Well as I remember they were
12 voted on in both committees, I'm on both committees. And
13 they were referred to both committees, I think that's
14 correct, they were voted on in both committees. I don't
15 remember what the votes were, but they came favorably out
16 of both committees.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: In other words, Executive also
18 was for the appointed. If this proposal passes it would
19 be an appointed official anyway. Okay. Is that right,
20 Commissioner Riley?
21 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes, the suggestion of taking
22 this last line out was not a part of any amendment
23 presented at either of the committees that this proposal
24 came before.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So you rise to oppose the
1 amendment to your amendment then?
2 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I do indeed.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott, you have been
4 very patient. You have the floor.
5 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I think I want to speak in favor
6 of the amendment. I couldn't find it to read it, but I
7 want to talk to you just a minute about this education
9 Last summer, you know, it sounded good. Let the
10 Governor be the Governor, and all of that, I remember two
11 former Governors at least saying that. But I have to tell
12 you something that, I mean, just as recently as this past
13 week, we had a number of meetings in Broward County where
14 Commissioner Brogan was there discussing charter schools,
15 cities getting into starting charter schools.
16 The interest level in education in this state is
17 tremendous. A few years ago, three or four years ago we
18 will say, there was great concern that progress was not
19 being made in education and people were not happy. I
20 mean, it is obvious why. Our test scores, two-thirds of
21 the kids coming out of the public school system couldn't
22 qualify for, they needed remediation in community colleges
23 in either English or math. The test scores were bad.
24 We have made a lot of progress. We have awakened the
25 state. And I think a part of that is having an elected
1 person who is out there all the time trying to help with
2 anything from having cities in Broward County, showing
3 them how to start charter schools, which may not be and
4 are not, and he says so, a panacea for everything but at
5 least they inject some competition, maybe they will work
6 better, maybe it will make the whole system better.
7 I am very concerned about now trying, when we have
8 gotten this heightened interest in education, it is now in
9 a level with concern about crime in this state, I think
10 people have recognized that, you know, we have to deal
11 with crime, but we also have to get back to some of the
12 causes, which education provides the best answer. And I
13 think at this point we have got to think long and hard
14 about putting out something that's going to say, well, we
15 are not going to have summarily an elected Commissioner of
16 Education anymore.
17 The Board of Education, interesting idea. Frankly,
18 the Cabinet in general, and no reflection on any current
19 members, but their positions do not, other than being
20 elected statewide, make them experts in education, but it
21 is a big step to take away the people's right to vote and
22 have input. And the input that comes with having someone
23 that's out there that has to meet with them on a regular
24 basis, that has his staff out there.
25 One of the concerns we have had at some of the other
1 levels of education has been perhaps in some cases the
2 lack of responsiveness to the people in the state by
3 appointed people. And that's been a continuing discussion
4 in the Legislature and throughout the state.
5 So I think it sounded good last summer to talk about,
6 and I'm sure we can make some progress in this area, but I
7 think in education to say that we are going to not have an
8 elected Commissioner of Education is a pretty big step.
9 And I'm not ready to take that at this time.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Nabors?
11 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Mr. Chairman, I have a question
12 for Mr. Henderson on his amendment to the amendment. I
13 want to make sure that I understand what this does. As I
14 read your amendment to the amendment, it deletes the last
15 sentence in Commissioner Riley's to delete the language,
16 "The State Board of Education shall appoint the
17 Commissioner of Education." Is that correct?
18 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: That's correct.
19 COMMISSIONER NABORS: But even if you delete that and
20 then the amendment passes as amended, you still go back to
21 the main proposal which eliminates the Commissioner of
22 Education. So it is unclear to me who then governs the
23 State Board of Education, because your amendment, as I
24 read it, doesn't really go to the issue of whether you
25 have an elected Commissioner of Education or not. It goes
1 simply to the issue on this amendment to the amendment.
2 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I think you raise a very
3 good question. Of course, I am not only opposed to
4 abolishing the Commissioner of Education but the others as
6 I think, however, if you are going to accomplish this
7 drastic Cabinet reform that you probably ought to do, you
8 ought to do something else -- you ought to do something
9 specific with education. So if this, if the amendment
10 passes, then obviously we are going to have to tinker with
11 it back in the main body, to answer your question.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Incidentally, that amendment
13 should reflect that it is on Page 4, Line 18, insert
14 Section 4, instead of what it reads. Make that correction
15 on your amendment. And now we are on the amendment to the
16 amendment. We are still on striking the last sentence.
17 Commissioner Smith.
18 COMMISSIONER SMITH: I just have a question,
19 Mr. Chairman. With regard to the amendment to the
20 amendment, based on the question that was asked, is it
21 germane now to discuss our position with regard to an
22 appointed versus an elected? I'm -- I want to be in
23 order. How do you rule?
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'm going to rule it is in order
25 if you want to discuss it, although I think you can say
1 Commissioner Henderson effectively said, don't pass my
2 amendment, and we will get to it later.
3 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Am I right, Commissioner
6 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman --
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are not giving it up.
8 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: No, sir, I'm trying to be
9 intellectually honest with everybody. I am against the
10 whole thing.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We know that. We saw your
12 sneakiness in advance.
14 No, we knew that. I don't think anybody is misled by
15 your intellectual approach. Commissioner Smith.
16 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I too
17 serve on the Education Committee and I share Commissioner
18 Scott's concern that we not take a leap like this without
19 careful consideration. Probably one of the most profound
20 presentations that I saw, having not served in the
21 Legislature and being privy to a lot of the information
22 our legislators have, was the presentation that was made
23 by my colleague Commissioner Marshall, which has in total
24 been distributed by video by Commissioner Nabors.
25 First of all, I think that we can look at the history
1 of how Florida has been doing in education over the last
2 20 years and it is shameful.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Smith, if you are
4 addressing a question to Commissioner Henderson, he is
5 engaged in high-level consultation while you are asking
6 him the question.
7 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Well I was hopeful that that
8 would end in his withdrawal of the amendment, but just in
9 case it doesn't.
10 And while the numbers, the test scores, et cetera,
11 have been so consistently appalling that the public has
12 required of our elected officials in both the executive
13 branch and the legislative branch to do more, I am not
14 certain that the elected commissioner has anything to do
15 with the little progress we have seen. I think it has to
16 do with the person, and not with whether the person is
17 elected or appointed.
18 As a matter of fact I think if we look at the past
19 record, I think if we started to make changes, one of the
20 things that we would probably say is since things have
21 been so bad for so long under an elected Commissioner of
22 Education, that should be one of the first places we would
24 I believe, and I think some of you would agree, that
25 we have some Cabinet members now who are so trusted and
1 well liked by the public that they could run for any of
2 the Cabinet positions if they wanted to, whether it is
3 agriculture or some other position because the people like
4 them, feel they are competent, they have great name
5 recognition and they are well organized. But that
6 wouldn't be good for the people of the state of Florida.
7 Education is very, very specific. It is very, very
8 critical. We need to do something radical, Commissioner
9 Scott. We need to tell the people of the state of Florida
10 that we are going to change this, we are going to go from
11 worst to first. And we are going to do it by putting
12 professionals in charge, we are going to do it by holding
13 the Governor responsible. And those who don't do the job
14 can't duck and hide anymore and we are going to get them
15 out of there if they don't do the job.
16 And so, Commissioner Henderson, this may be the first
17 time we have publicly disagreed on the floor, but I'm
18 proud of the fact that we are disagreeing on this because
19 having two daughters in school, as far as I'm concerned,
20 this is one of the most important things that I can do.
21 And I definitely will support Commissioner Riley.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Riley, I have
23 recognized you about four or five times. If somebody else
24 wants to speak, I'm going to recognize them first. You
25 know where we are? We are on the amendment to the
1 amendment to the amendment. Commissioner Butterworth.
2 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: No, I was just going to
3 say, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate those kinds words from
4 Commissioner Smith. That was all.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
7 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, I suggest we
8 read the amendment to the amendment and take the vote.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Read the amendment to
10 the amendment. Commissioner Riley.
11 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I have not spoken to this
12 amendment, if I may have just a few quick points to make.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Are you against the amendment to
14 the amendment?
15 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes, sir.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You may talk yourself out of a
17 favorable vote.
18 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Okay.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Then again, you may not. You
20 will have another chance to discuss it.
21 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I would like to make a couple of
22 points in answer to the points that Commissioner Scott and
23 Commissioner Henderson made.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Go ahead.
25 COMMISSIONER RILEY: And that is that exactly to what
1 Commissioner Smith said, and to remind people that we are
2 talking about a State Board of Education in conjunction --
3 not in conjunction but working with a State Board of
4 Community Colleges that does not elect its head, a Board
5 of Regents that does not elect its head. So I would
6 suggest that we vote against the amendment, thank you.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. All in -- we are
8 going to vote on the amendment to the amendment at this
9 time. All in favor of the amendment to the amendment --
10 did I have him read it again? Okay. All in favor of the
11 amendment to the amendment, say aye; all opposed?
12 (Verbal vote taken.)
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It fails. Now we go to the
15 (Off-the-record comment.)
16 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
19 READING CLERK: Eight nays and 18 nays, Mr. Chairman.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: My ears, even though one of them
21 is not very good, were excellent on that particular
22 occasion. Now we're on the amendment, which I would like
23 to ask you to read again.
24 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Alfonso, on Page 4,
25 Line 18, insert Section 4; Section 2 of Article IX,
1 Florida Constitution, revised by amending this section to
2 read: Article IX, education, Section 2, State Board of
3 Education; the State Board of Education shall be a body
4 corporate and have such supervision of the system of
5 public education as is provided by law. The State Board
6 of Education shall consist of seven members appointed by
7 the Governor to staggered four-year terms, subject to
8 confirmation by the Senate. The State Board of Education
9 shall appoint the Commissioner of Education. Renumber
10 subsequent Section 5.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now on the amendment,
12 anybody want to be heard further on the amendment? If
13 not, we will proceed to vote. All in favor of the
14 amendment, say aye; opposed?
15 (Verbal vote taken.)
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The ayes have it and therefore
17 the amendment is adopted. Do you want a recorded vote on
18 that, Commissioner Henderson?
19 (Off-the-record comment by Commissioner Henderson.)
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I wanted to make sure. All
21 right. We are now on the proposal as amended. And we
22 adopted two amendments; is that right? Two amendments.
23 We adopted the last amendment and then we adopted the one,
24 a total of three.
25 Can you -- would it be appropriate to read the
1 amendments, one, two and three, so we will know exactly
2 what we are voting on?
3 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Mr. Chairman, I have one more
4 question while they are getting those in order if I could
5 ask it please. It is a clarification. It appears to me
6 that in the clemency area, it requires -- if this proposal
7 were adopted, Commissioner Alfonso, with regard to
8 clemency it requires one vote, just one vote for clemency.
9 And then later on in the proposal -- later on in the
10 proposal it requires the Governor to be on the prevailing
11 side. Is there a conflict in those two things?
12 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: As I understand it, the
13 Governor has to be on the prevailing side.
14 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: But if it requires one vote
15 for clemency, it does not require that vote be of the
16 Governor. So the question is --
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett, it requires
18 one vote of the Cabinet, which is two people. The
19 Governor is not a member of the Cabinet. So what he is
20 saying is that it requires the Governor's vote and one
21 other member.
22 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: And one other member.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think that was the way I
24 understood it was presented.
25 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Well the Governor has to be
1 for it.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Correct. The Governor has to be
3 for it, but he has to get one of the two Cabinet members
4 to vote with him in order to grant clemency. Let's read
5 the three amendments. If everybody would listen
6 carefully, then we will know what we are voting on I hope.
7 READING CLERK: Amendment 1 by Commissioner Thompson,
8 on Page 2, Line 7, on Page 3, Line 1, on Page 3, Line 9,
9 on Page 3, Line 16, on Page 8, Line 1, strike "treasurer"
10 and insert "chief financial officer."
11 Amendment 2 by Commissioners Butterworth and
12 Thompson, Page 3 between Line 19 and 20 insert "the
13 Governor as chair, the chief financial officer and
14 attorney general shall constitute the agency head of the
15 Department of Law Enforcement."
16 Amendment 3 by Commissioner Alfonso, on Page 4, Line
17 18 insert, "Section 4, Section 2 of Article IX of the
18 Florida Constitution is revised by amending the section to
19 read, Article IX, Education; Section 2, the State Board of
20 Education, the State Board of Education shall be a body
21 corporate and have such supervision of the system of
22 public education as is provided by law. The State Board
23 of Education shall consist of seven members appointed by
24 the Governor to staggered four-year terms subject to
25 confirmation by the Senate. The State Board of Education
1 shall appoint the Commissioner of Education. Renumber
2 subsequent Section 5."
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'm going to ask Commissioner
4 Henderson, as I understood what you were trying to do,
5 Commissioner Henderson, if I am right, is you wanted a
6 clean proposal on the Cabinet reform issue, whether you
7 were for it or against it, and you felt that this was an
8 issue that should be addressed separately; is that
9 correct? It is coming up later. I mean, as far as the
10 proposals are concerned, there is one still on the
11 calendar that does that.
12 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure I
13 understood the question.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well then I won't ask it again.
15 We will ask for debate on the proposal.
16 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman, at the
17 appropriate time I would like to stand in opposition to
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Correct, I was aware of that.
20 All right, proponents.
21 Opponent, Commissioner Henderson.
22 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
23 heard -- first of all, I want to compliment Chairman
24 Alfonso and members of the Executive Committee for giving
25 this issue a tremendous amount of attention and working
1 through the various proposals that came through it and
2 coming forward with a proposal that is well thought out,
3 and has, comes to it with a unique opportunity because of
4 the support from a couple of current members of the
5 Cabinet. So I applaud them for that effort.
6 But I would also applaud the members of this
7 commission who have heard all the things that Governor
8 Askew said and Governor Chiles said and remarks from
9 Governor Martinez and Governor Kirk.
10 And we have undertaken Cabinet reform in these
11 chambers, we have done that. The first thing we did, and
12 you know it was near and dear to my heart as well as
13 Commissioner Alfonso's, is that we decided that it was not
14 an appropriate thing to waste the Governor and Cabinet's
15 time on to decide the size of a lobster that should be
16 taken in Florida Bay. And so by stripping the Cabinet of
17 dealing with all of those issues, we have undertaken
18 Cabinet reform.
19 The Corr Amendment that we talked about earlier is
20 also Cabinet reform. We have acceded to the
21 recommendation of the Martinez Commission and we said the
22 Cabinet should no longer be the head of a department. Now
23 we have come back and said, okay, but we did that with
24 FDLE, and I guess I would support that too, but we have
25 taken away that aspect of it that has taken up a lot of
1 their time.
2 And frankly, I even support the Riley Amendment that
3 we just adopted which would transfer the responsibilities
4 of the Board of Education from the Cabinet to a new Board
5 of Education because I agree with my colleague, I do agree
6 with my colleague Commissioner Smith that that is a step
7 in the right direction and that is something that the
8 public would support.
9 But I would suggest to you that things have changed
10 since Governor Martinez was governor and Governor Graham
11 was governor and Governor Kirk was governor and that is
12 the voters of the state have already undertaken a
13 tremendous amount of Cabinet reform. They did it with
14 Eight Is Enough.
15 Back in the old days we did have a problem when you
16 had, say, a Commissioner of Agriculture that was there for
17 longer than anyone could remember, or a Secretary of State
18 that was there for longer than anyone could remember. And
19 governors, as in the case of Governor Kirk, or governors
20 before Governor Askew came and went. They couldn't even
21 succeed themselves. They would serve for four years and
22 be the minority voice on a Cabinet where the other members
23 could serve forever, or would seem like to be forever.
24 But Eight Is Enough has leveled that playing field.
25 We no longer have a Cabinet where you have very senior
1 people being Secretary of State or Commissioner of
2 Agriculture who are holding an equal weight of a plural
3 executive. So I would suggest to you that we have changed
4 the system and that we have a level playing field.
5 I'll tell you that I like the Cabinet, I don't know
6 that I can tell you why. I think it is like that debate
7 we had in these chambers about a unicameral Legislature
8 and we all decided that we were not the state of Nebraska.
9 Well, you know, the plural executive is what makes us
10 different. It is unique.
11 And I'll tell you as someone who stood before it in
12 front of four different governors, there is something
13 magical about it. I can't tell you why that is, but I can
14 tell you that collectively I have seen these good
15 individuals over time come together and work together for
16 the best interest of the state and take decisions and make
17 decisions which couldn't have happened in any other
19 An area that obviously is very important to me is as
20 steward of our natural resources. And I can tell you that
21 observing the Cabinet over Democratic and Republican
22 governors, over splits between Democrats and Republicans
23 on the Cabinet, that the environment has always been a
24 bipartisan issue before that Cabinet. And decisions that
25 they have made have been in the public trust.
1 And I'll just give you a couple of examples of things
2 I have observed over the years. And some people might
3 have a difference of agreement with me. In fact, my
4 colleague Commissioner Butterworth may have disagreements
5 on some of these things, but from my perspective I think
6 the system has worked well.
7 Several years ago, the Cabinet was concerned about
8 the fate of the West Indian manatee and asked the
9 Department of Natural Resources to come forward with a
10 plan on how to protect the manatee. The Cabinet looked at
11 that plan and heard from the people and collectively said,
12 That is not enough, you must do something more. And they
13 did that.
14 A few years ago, the Cabinet heard an appeal from
15 decisions of a Hearing Officer involving growth management
16 decisions in the Florida Keys. The Hearing Officer opined
17 that the carrying capacity of the Florida Keys had been
18 exceeded and we should do something more. The Cabinet
19 said, yes, we should do something more, and it held
20 everybody to a higher standard to go find a way to solve
21 that problem.
22 Last year there was a very controversial issue that
23 came before the Cabinet concerning the change of fuel that
24 Florida Power and Light wanted to use at a plant in
25 Manatee County called orimulsion. Most people never heard
1 of orimulsion. Most people in the state of Florida still
2 have never heard of orimulsion.
3 When this permit went about the usual course of
4 business, it was approved because it was no big deal.
5 When it went before the Governor and Cabinet, the Governor
6 and Cabinet accurately saw that this issue is one of
7 statewide importance and held it to a higher standard.
8 Some of those things are still being worked out, but that
9 is how it works. They have the ability to do that.
10 You know, each of us have had a really interesting
11 and unique experience. You know, in going to the 11
12 public hearings as we did around the state, we gained,
13 whether we liked it or not, a statewide perspective. I
14 think what I have learned is that there are so few people
15 in this state who truly have a statewide perspective, that
16 know the difference between the way things act and play
17 out and policy deals between Pensacola and Key West. It
18 is an incredibly diverse state that we have.
19 And because of that, I value the fact that we have
20 not one, not three, but seven people who every four years
21 we get to elect to have a statewide perspective. And
22 true, we may ask some of these candidates, What is your
23 perspective, primarily on education. And some may
24 primarily have that perspective in agriculture, and others
25 may primarily have that perspective in banking.
1 But it is a statewide perspective that requires them
2 to go out there and run for office from Pensacola to Key
3 West and gain the confidence of the 14 million people who
4 live in this state.
5 My colleagues, I'll tell you that the system works.
6 I don't know why it works, but it works, there is
7 something magical about it, and I think we should retain
8 it. I think it would be a mistake to step away from it
9 because I don't think we will ever be able to explain to
10 the voters of this state why they should give up their
11 right to vote on four people who set policy of something
12 that's so important.
13 Every engineer that I know looks at the design of a
14 bumblebee. It is fat, it has got short wings, they will
15 tell you that it can't fly. There is no way in the world
16 that that bumblebee can fly. And that's the Cabinet.
17 Every political scientist that looks at it, everybody that
18 thinks they understand accountability looks at it and
19 says, It can't work. I believe it works, I'm proud to
20 defend this system here, and I believe that the people of
21 the state of Florida, as they did in 1978 would support it
22 as well.
23 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Smith.
25 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are next, Commissioner
3 COMMISSIONER SMITH: It is a big difference between
4 an engineer saying that a bumblebee can't fly and the
5 bumblebee saying it can't fly. Governors, Democrat and
6 Republican alike, who have been a part of this system, who
7 have no vested interest now tell us that the Cabinet
8 system is a relic of the old Florida.
9 They say to us, this bumblebee can't fly. And I
10 trust their judgment with regard to that. And let me
11 commend Commissioner Alfonso because there were a
12 tremendous number of proposals and I think he and his
13 committee have done a wonderful job.
14 Question number one, what I call the Wetherington
15 question, is this necessary for the Constitution? We all
16 can resoundingly say yes. And the Commissioner Barkdull
17 question, where should this be on our priority list? And
18 I would suggest within the top three to five things we can
19 do because this involves the balance of power in our
21 And while Commissioner Henderson probably has made
22 the best possible argument for a bad system, I suggest to
23 you that one issue he did not address is the issue of
24 accountability. Because I think that's the strongest
25 reason why Governors and those who want Florida to move
1 forward with real change in our particular system argue
2 with regard to this proposal.
3 I think that there may be some magic, there is magic
4 to almost everything in the past. You know, we wax about
5 the good old days. But usually with most of the things we
6 do, the good old days were not really as good as our
7 memories about the good old days. And I think with regard
8 to -- because we continue to get better, we continue to
9 improve. We continue to learn the lessons of our past,
10 and the mistakes that we made.
11 And I think where Florida has come from 1968 to 1998,
12 we can all be proud of. This one relic, though, this one
13 dragon, needs to be slain. And I am proud of the fact
14 that I believe that this Commission is prepared to put
15 before the public a proposal that will take us into the
16 21st century and balance out the power that we need
17 between our different branches of government. And I
18 believe that for that reason, we all should support this
19 very fine work of our executive committee. And I intend
20 to vote yes.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Evans-Jones.
22 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Thank you. I rise with
23 fear and trepidation because Commissioner Alfonso has done
24 a terrific job on this in the Executive Committee, which I
25 am also a member of. But I guess as an old relic here in
1 Florida, Commissioner Smith, I kind of like old relics,
2 and I think that the system that we have today has worked
3 really very well.
4 And it's really interesting to see the people who
5 come in front of the Cabinet. They like the diversity of
6 having all of these elected officials be able to listen to
7 them and to offer their opinion and to help.
8 And I know, for instance, we had a problem in little
9 ole Nassau County that came up with Metro Marine, which
10 I'm sure some of the commissioners remember. And we would
11 not have been able, I don't think, to have defeated that,
12 had there not been a Cabinet, and the Governor. It was
13 quite helpful to us.
14 We didn't want to have a dry dock in an aquatic
15 preserve. We thought that was really not appropriate for
16 Amelia Island. And those of you who know Amelia Island,
17 it is a beautiful community. And none of us who live
18 there, except maybe an attorney who represented Metro
19 Marine, most of us were really, you know, very, very
20 against this.
21 And I just think that it is serving a useful purpose,
22 has served a useful purpose. We did work for a year on
23 trying to get rid of some of the unimportant duties that
24 the Cabinet had to go into detail with, and we have done
25 that legislatively. And about half of those things have
1 passed and I hope the rest of them will pass.
2 And I agree with Commissioner Henderson. With the
3 limitation of terms, you have an opportunity to put new
4 people in there who are very effective and who really
5 listen to the citizens of Florida. I don't think three
6 people are going to really be representative of the state
7 that we are living in. And I would urge you to vote
8 against this very good bill.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further
10 discussion? Commissioner Barnett.
11 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
12 came into the chamber today prepared to vote for this
13 proposal. I was very impressed with Bill Nelson and
14 General Milligan and the concept they advanced, which is
15 largely included in the proposal before us.
16 But I have decided that I'm going to vote against
17 this proposal today, and I want to tell you why. And it
18 has to do with the issue I raised a few minutes ago, and
19 that is about the intimate interrelationship of the
20 proposal that was passed on Friday, which takes away from
21 the Legislature, constitutionally prohibits the
22 Legislature from allowing the Cabinet to be a collegial
23 body, a collegial head of various state agencies. And
24 that -- that provision, I think you have -- I have to look
25 at that provision in conjunction with this provision.
1 I have always, like Commissioner Henderson, I have
2 always been a proponent of the Cabinet, I think the
3 Cabinet system works. To me, the fact that we are the
4 only state that has this system makes us unique, but
5 unique in a positive way. We are the only state in the
6 union where any citizen of this state every two weeks has
7 the opportunity to approach, address, and usually get a
8 reaction and a response from the highest elected officials
9 in the state of Florida.
10 The Cabinet meets every two weeks, and often
11 citizens, real citizens, not citizens who are represented
12 by lawyers or associations or other entities, citizens'
13 groups appear before the Cabinet. And it's been my
14 experience, as I've sat in those Cabinet meetings, that
15 those citizens are listened to carefully, and that the
16 elected officials try to address their issues. I think
17 that is a very positive aspect of our government.
18 I've never been Governor and it's clear I never will
19 be with my personal income tax proposal, but my
20 observation of a number of governors is they are not weak.
21 They may not be as strong as they would like to be in any
22 given situation, they may have to balance more interests
23 and more issues, but, you know, I would like somebody to
24 tell the tobacco industry how weak Governor Chiles is.
25 They are not weak, and I just have never been impressed by
2 But I really felt that as long as we retained a
3 Cabinet of three people, then we still had the right of
4 the public to approach those elected officials on a
5 regular basis, that we maintain that unique aspect that I
6 think is so positive. As long as we have that, I could
7 support this proposal as opposed to an outright abolition.
8 But once we take away from the Legislature the
9 authority to create some of these collegial bodies, I
10 mean, the agencies that are headed by the Cabinet as a
11 collegial body, such as the Department of Revenue, such as
12 the Highway Safety, such as Management Services, such as
13 the State Board of Administration, such as Trustees.
14 Now granted, a couple of those we have preserved in
15 the Constitution, but basically we have now dramatically
16 limited what the Cabinet will hear. They won't hear
17 education issues, they won't hear about the tax structure
18 of the state, they won't hear about all the buildings and
19 construction and management of issues in state government.
20 Their role will be dramatically limited.
21 And on many of those issues, other than thankfully
22 the environmental issues, and that is a key component of,
23 this is the Trustees' function, there's not going to be
24 much that the average citizen is really going to utilize
25 that forum for. So I think that while we have maintained
1 a forum for citizens' access, we have so limited the
2 issues that will be considered by the Cabinet that it
3 causes me great concern.
4 At a later point, because I'm certain this proposal
5 is going forward, at a later point, if we can address the
6 concerns that I have about what was done earlier, you
7 know, with the constitutional restriction on the
8 Legislature, then I would reconsider, you know, voting for
10 But in the current posture and because of the
11 relationship with the two, and because I believe that the
12 Cabinet is a very positive thing for a state as diverse
13 and dynamic as Florida, that I'm going to have to, with
14 great reluctance now, vote against it.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
16 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Will Commissioner Barnett
17 yield for a question?
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: She yields.
19 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Commissioner Barnett, if I
20 was to put the proposal that we passed in the previous
21 session on reconsideration, would you vote for this
23 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: That's difficult to answer,
24 Commissioner Barkdull. I certainly would vote for it if
25 that proposal were up on reconsideration and disposed of
1 in a way differently than it was last Thursday.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It's still available for
3 reconsideration, for your information, Commissioner
5 Commissioner Butterworth and then Commissioner
7 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, having the
8 opportunity to sit on the collegial body called the
9 Governor and Cabinet -- and the Governor is not part of
10 the Cabinet, which every governor will tell you. People
11 make the mistake by considering him a member of the
12 Cabinet. If you ever want to get Governor Askew a little
13 bit upset, you talk about that issue.
14 But on the issues which Commissioner Barnett was
15 talking about, where people come and speak before the
16 Governor and Cabinet, I wish to say that it is good to
17 hear from a number of people. But I believe that what is
18 preserved right now in the proposal before us is the vast
19 majority of a number of issues that we hear from people
21 And when the Governor and Cabinet had the opportunity
22 to address this issue twice, they preserved these type
23 issues because those are the ones that we do hear from in
24 the public. We are talking about, we want to sit as a
25 collegial body for the environment, for pledging the full
1 faith and credit of the state of Florida, for law
2 enforcement and a couple of the other issues. And those
3 are the ones that usually they don't receive that
4 unanimous 7-0 vote.
5 Having sat there for 11 years, I believe what we are
6 preserving are things that, by and large, the public comes
7 and talks to us about. And some of the public that comes
8 and talks to us, we probably don't have authority anyway
9 right now to even do what they want us to do, but we
10 listen to them anyway. I don't believe that's going to
11 stop in the future.
12 So I would urge adoption of this proposal. Thank
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now Commissioner Ford-Coates.
15 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: During our public
16 hearings, I heard Commissioner Barnett speak several times
17 about the need for the public to have access to the
18 government and how incredible it is that any average
19 citizen can speak to the Cabinet, as she has mentioned
20 here today.
21 And I would like to add that after looking at what we
22 have done before -- and the Corr amendment, just to
23 refresh memory, we haven't brought up the actual subject
24 of that proposal, which was the limitation of the state
25 departments to 25 departments and to whom those
1 departments report. And as we passed unanimously last
2 time, those departments report to one person, be it the
3 Governor, Lieutenant Governor or any Cabinet member. But
4 just to clarify that proposal. That to me handles the
5 accountability issue.
6 But this idea of the public having access to their
7 government, to me, is as impacted by this proposal, even
8 though there are three people still left as the Cabinet, I
9 think the people are greatly impacted by the fact that
10 they no longer elect four of their statewide officials.
11 And as I see it, the ability of the public to contact a
12 person for whom they vote on issues as important to this
13 state as agriculture and education, elections and business
14 that the Secretary of the State handles, those issues are
15 equally important to the public.
16 And I don't think the citizens of the state of
17 Florida want to give up the right to have the opportunity
18 to elect those statewide officials. I would endorse what
19 Commissioner Henderson has said strongly and urge you to
20 vote against this proposal.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Marshall.
22 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Mr. Chairman, there are some
23 days when one is really proud to be a member of this
24 commission -- well, maybe every day.
25 But the quality of this debate seems to me to be such
1 that I hope it's shown in every class on government in the
2 state. I mean, we are really coming to grips with one of
3 the most basic issues of government. And when I hear
4 other commissioners talk, Martha -- Commissioner Barnett,
5 I want to say, Man, you are right, that is a compelling
6 point. But I think there's some very compelling points on
7 the other side and I'm still on the affirmative side of
9 I want to make one point and I will make that point
10 briefly. Commissioner Smith touched it off but didn't
11 really speak to it in this context, and that's
12 accountability. I've never heard of a Commissioner of
13 Agriculture running for office and saying, I'm going to be
14 the Education Commissioner of Agriculture, or even the
15 Attorney General say, I'm going to be the Education
16 Attorney General.
17 But I've heard any number of governors over the past
18 30 or 40 years say, If you will elect me, I'll be the
19 Education Governor. I would like to give him or her the
20 chance to do that, to be the chief officer for education
21 that I can look to and hold accountable and say, I heard
22 what you promised and now I'm going to hold you to it, or
23 at least do my best to.
24 I have heard a number of Commissioners of Education
25 over the years say, I was really in favor of that, but I
1 couldn't convince the other Cabinet members to support me,
2 or the Governor to go along. I don't think we have very
3 good accountability in the management of education. And
4 the primary reason, at least one of those that I favor
5 this measure is that I do think it contains real
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Alfonso
8 to close.
9 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Thank you, Mr. Chair. And I
10 want to thank you, Commissioners, for the quality of this
12 Really a lot of my argument has been made by
13 Commissioner Smith and Commissioner Marshall, but I want
14 to touch on a few points here. Commissioner Henderson --
15 and by the way, Commissioner Henderson and Commissioner
16 Evans-Jones, I would like to welcome all of you to our
17 committee because you heard what went on there.
18 But Commissioner Henderson said he doesn't know why
19 the Cabinet works. I would suggest and submit to you that
20 the general public doesn't know what the Cabinet does.
21 When someone is voting for the Commissioner of Education,
22 he expects someone to be really specifically knowledgeable
23 about education, and the same goes for Agriculture. He
24 doesn't expect that these commissioners will have aides to
25 explain to them what some of the 400 duties that the
1 Cabinet has that deal with other parts of government.
2 The Askew Commission noted those 400 different
3 duties -- statutes that assign duties to the Cabinet and
4 they recommended about 200 of them could be transferred or
5 assigned elsewhere. I think that if you look at
6 perspective, statewide perspective, ours is a very diverse
8 I would rather that those commissioners, or whatever
9 they be, Commissioner of Education, et cetera, be very
10 specifically knowledgeable about the perspective that it
11 takes for them to govern or for them to decide on the
12 issues that they deal with across the state in their
13 specific field, not worrying about agriculture in this
14 very diverse state when one is the Commissioner of
15 Education. I would like to submit that point to you.
16 I think that Commissioner Barnett's point is well
17 taken, but I would suggest that her point -- that proposal
18 also deals with a seven-member Cabinet. So I believe, you
19 know, we need to look at this proposal for what it is and
20 what it stands for. It stands for a more efficient
21 government, one that is accountable to the people. One
22 that when the people vote on these three officers and on
23 the strength of the Governor, when they vote for the
24 Governor, they know what they are voting for. They know
25 that that Governor is going to be accountable for his
2 I would say, Commissioner Marshall, no other state
3 has copied this system of executive government. The
4 national trend has been for states to actually hold their
5 elected officials more accountable for their positions as
6 we head into the future.
7 So though this is a very complex issue, and we faced
8 it during our committee meetings, I ask you to consider a
9 bipartisan proposal made to us by two members of this
10 Cabinet to consider another member of the Cabinet, and
11 what his suggestions have been made to us here,
12 Commissioner Butterworth. I would ask you to consider
13 making the Governor's power his own and let's really look
14 at taking a historic step here. And really looking at the
15 possibility of changing this system that's been in place
16 now for a very, very long time. Thank you.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Ready to vote? We'll
18 open the machine and vote.
19 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
22 READING CLERK: Twenty yeas and 9 nays, Mr. Chairman.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. You have adopted the
24 proposal as amended.
25 At this time I have a couple of things that I would
1 like to do. First, I would like to recognize that
2 Commissioner Freiden is not only accompanied by her
3 children, but by her spouse, Phillip Freiden, who is
4 sitting up here. We are glad to have you, Phil. It's a
5 pleasure to have you with us. We know who takes care of
6 the children while you are here now, Commissioner Freiden.
7 In addition to that, I would like to announce that
8 I'm adding to the Style and Drafting Committee, which
9 presently consists of Chairman Mills, Commissioner
10 Barnett, Commissioner Lowndes and Commissioner Alfonso,
11 that I have asked Commissioner Scott and Commissioner
12 Ford-Coates to serve on that committee as well, and they
13 have agreed to do so.
14 And I'm going to appoint a Select Committee on
15 Sovereign Immunity issues because we have four or five
16 separate proposals that have been moved. And the chairman
17 of that committee will be Commissioner Connor. Members of
18 that committee will be Commissioner Hawkes, Commissioner
19 Morsani, Commissioner Lowndes and Commissioner Zack. And
20 they will meet at the call, or announcements some time
21 today will make announcements as to when these committees
22 will meet.
23 Commissioner Barkdull, I think we can take that up
24 now or later, if you'd like, whichever you'd prefer to do.
25 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, I'm going to
1 suggest that they meet upon adjournment today to get
2 organized. We have no other committee meetings other than
3 Rules and Calendar.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Then those committees --
5 if the chairman of the committee, the select committee,
6 would make some arrangements to have an organizational
7 meeting at least following the session today. And I
8 think -- is Style and Drafting scheduled for a meeting,
9 Commissioner Mills?
10 COMMISSIONER MILLS: No, Mr. Chairman, we were going
11 to try to do at least an organizational meeting during
12 approximately the lunch hour on Wednesday.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Then you would prefer
14 to have your meeting then scheduled on Wednesday at some
16 COMMISSIONER MILLS: At noon. I'm getting a lot of
17 frowns here. Why don't I announce that tomorrow morning,
18 as soon as I get a consensus?
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Since you have got frowns
20 at least from Commissioner Barnett who doesn't want to
21 miss lunch, we'll discuss that. Commissioner Barkdull, is
22 that okay?
23 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, sir.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you have something further?
25 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. I
1 want to announce for the purpose of the commission as a
2 whole, the Rules and Calendar Committee will meet this
3 afternoon to establish the special order for the next two
4 days in Room 309, which is directly behind the chamber,
5 down one floor.
6 And now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to move, and I
7 was one of those that voted for Proposition 168, which was
8 the Corr amendment that Commissioner Barnett spoke about,
9 that it be on reconsideration please. Leave pending.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And leave pending. Without
11 objection, it will be left pending. Also, I had intended
12 to ask Commissioner Anthony, who is up, to serve along
13 with the -- on the Select Committee on Initiatives, but he
14 tells me that he has got meetings that conflict. But I'm
15 going to suggest that at the appropriate time we'll
16 discuss that and see if you can't participate, since you
17 have done a lot of work on this. Did you want to be
19 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, I
20 appreciate that appointment, but I would like to ask your
21 consideration of the appointment to the Select Committee
22 on Sovereign Immunity to provide some balance in the
23 discussion so that -- it's not going to meet at the same
24 time as Finance and Taxation, which I'm already a member.
25 But I would prefer, if possible, your consideration
1 to the Sovereign Immunity instead of the Initiatives,
2 which both are very important, but that Sovereign Immunity
3 discussion is very important.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I will consider your request.
5 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are still on the other
7 committee for the moment. You should have been here the
8 other day.
9 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
11 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, Members of the
12 Commission, I also want to move to reconsider a voice vote
13 that was taken on the Cabinet proposal. It was an
14 amendment offered by Commissioner Thompson to change the
15 title of the office of treasurer and leave it pending.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Sorry about that, you are out of
17 order. You better discuss this with our parliamentarian
18 before you go further, and me.
19 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: The Rules Chairman is not
20 going to appeal the ruling of the Chair.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are still going to be here for
22 awhile. Why don't we take -- I think everybody might be a
23 little bit tired. Why don't we take a five-minute recess
24 and come back. Let's make it -- that clock is wrong,
25 incidentally, but since we are operating off of it, let's
1 come back here at 4:45, all right? So we'll stand in
2 recess, without objection, until 4:45 on this clock.
3 (Brief recess.)
4 SECRETARY BLANTON: All commissioners indicate your
5 presence. All commissioners indicate your presence.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Try again. Madam
7 Secretary, try them again.
8 (Quorum taken and recorded electronically.)
9 SECRETARY BLANTON: A quorum is present,
10 Mr. Chairman.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We'll come to order,
12 please. Come to order, please.
13 Commissioner Riley, the next proposal would be
14 Committee Substitute for 166, which was included in the
15 last proposal. Would you like to withdraw that?
16 (Off-the-record comment by Commissioner Riley.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Would you like to
18 pass it then or would you like to take it up now?
19 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I would like to pass it, yes,
20 and take it up now.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. It's there. Come to
22 order, please, and we are going to take up the next item
23 on special order, which is Committee Substitute for
24 Proposal 166 by the Committee on Executive, Commissioner
25 Riley. Would you read the proposal, please?
1 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
2 166, a proposal to revise Article IX, Section 2, Florida
3 Constitution; providing for the appointment of the State
4 Board of Education by the Governor and the appointment of
5 the Commissioner of Education by the State Board of
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Riley, you are
8 recognized. Now let's everybody please come to order. We
9 have got to move on here. Is everybody now seated and off
10 their telephones yet?
11 Commissioner Riley.
12 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I'm going to make this real
13 short. So if you-all are in the back, if you come up here
14 then you can vote for this. In fact, Commissioners,
15 there's only eight of you that I'm talking to anyway,
16 because nine of you voted against the other one and
17 Commissioner Henderson said he would already vote for
18 this. So I figure there are eight of you left that I have
19 to convince. If any of the eight who voted against the
20 last proposal are in the back, if they would come back and
21 listen to my argument, I would really appreciate it.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Henderson trumped
23 you because he's not here.
24 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Did he leave?
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, he's behind you, he's hiding.
1 Did you close?
2 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Just real briefly. Commissioner
3 Henderson said a couple of times ago, and Commissioner
4 Thompson being from a north county knows this same phrase,
5 which is, I don't have a dog in that hunt. But this is a
6 hunt that we have all got a dog in. There is nobody in
7 this room that education doesn't affect.
8 So I would ask that we give the voters an opportunity
9 to vote in a State Board of Education that would allow
10 better continuity, nonpartisan, and interface well with
11 the Board of Regents and with the State Board of Community
12 Colleges, both of whom have looked at these proposals,
13 neither of whom have spoken against them.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills.
15 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well perhaps Commissioner Riley,
16 since I told her I was going to ask that question has
17 answered it. But we have two other statewide -- well, we
18 have a statewide board with the Board of Regents and then
19 we have a community college board. And the question is,
20 do you have any vision of -- is this board supervisory
21 over those?
22 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Absolutely not. Any more than
23 the Regents is supervisory over the Board of Community
24 Colleges, or that the acting State Board of Education is
25 supervisory over the Board of Regents or the existing
1 Community College Board.
2 I see it as three boards working together but -- they
3 deal with different bodies. So, no, I don't. And I know
4 they have both looked at this proposal. And as I said,
5 they have not spoken against it.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now --
7 (Off-the-record comment.)
8 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes, it does. It only deals --
9 everything under 12th grade.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Henderson.
11 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I'm trying to find my dog,
12 Mr. Chairman.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, that's not one of
14 Commissioner Thompson's sayings. He very seldom uses that
15 dog-in-the-hunt thing.
16 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Commissioner Riley, I think
17 with the last question, I'm not sure I got the answer, but
18 let me just ask it directly. What does this do? It's a
19 nice idea to create, but what will it do?
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I think it will make for better
21 continuous -- no, that's not what you are looking for?
22 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I don't know what I'm
23 looking for. I think --
24 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Let me tell you what I think it
25 will do. It will bring expertise to education that's
1 already brought to other parts of education, such as the
2 Board of Regents, such as the Board of Community Colleges.
3 What about pre-K through 12? Why shouldn't they have a
4 group that meets specifically for them, and specifically
5 to bring the issues before them and put together a better
6 educational system?
7 There's nobody here that thinks that we have got the
8 best educational system in the United States. In fact, we
9 have talked about the figures; the figures are terrible.
10 So let's give an opportunity to do what they do in 22
11 other states, which is to have a different system. This
12 is a different system.
13 This is not Cabinet reform. It has been tied to
14 Cabinet reform because it affects it only in that it
15 changes -- well, you know why it changes it. But this
16 isn't a Cabinet reform bill, this is an education bill.
17 And we need to look at it in that manner and vote on it
18 for that reason. Does that answer your question?
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Henderson, you have
20 the floor.
21 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Just to follow the question,
22 to help educate me. Okay, does it abolish the Board of
24 COMMISSIONER RILEY: No.
25 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Does it abolish the State
1 Board of Community Colleges?
2 COMMISSIONER RILEY: No.
3 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Does it abolish any of the
4 individual boards of the community colleges for each of
5 the individual --
6 COMMISSIONER RILEY: No.
7 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Will it set standards for --
8 what does it do? I mean, I just --
9 COMMISSIONER RILEY: It is a State Board of Education
10 which will do better, I think, what the existing State
11 Board of Education does. So what does the existing State
12 Board of Education do? Sets standards to make decisions
13 that affect pre-K through 12, that's what this board will
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Riley, does the
16 present State Board of Education have jurisdiction over
17 the Board of Regents?
18 COMMISSIONER RILEY: No, nor was it recommended by
19 the groups who have really looked at this, such as the
20 Commission on Education. And they didn't recommend that a
21 system like that be set up.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The reason I ask that is I recall
23 that the State Board of Regents is appointed by the
24 Governor with a concurrence of the Cabinet. Isn't that
1 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Actually, it isn't in fact
2 appointed by the Governor. I thought that it was elected
3 by the Board of Regents.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, the Board of Regents -- if I
5 want to be appointed to the Board of Regents, I have first
6 got to get the Governor to appoint me and then I have got
7 to get the Cabinet to go along with it.
8 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I thought you were talking about
9 the head of the Board of Regents.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think his question was, does
11 this affect that? And the answer was, if you pass the
12 other thing, you still have a Cabinet.
13 COMMISSIONER RILEY: So I don't understand what the
14 question is.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think what he's saying is it's
16 not superfluous. Am I right, Commissioner Henderson?
17 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: No, sir, I probably will
18 support it. And I'm not trying to be argumentative. I'm
19 really trying to understand what it is that we have done
20 and what we are trying to do.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: In the last one, you were against
22 electing, not electing all of these people, and now you
23 are for this; is that correct?
24 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: We have done that. You
25 know, we have done that. So, honestly, I think if you are
1 going to do that, then you need a State Board of
2 Education. But in terms of the issue of the structure of
3 government, I think it is a legitimate question as to what
4 does it do? And it was a legitimate inquiry as to what
5 thinking went into that process.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I understand and that was the
7 purpose of my question. Commissioner Barkdull.
8 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Will Commissioner Riley yield
9 for a question?
10 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes.
11 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Commissioner Riley, is the
12 purpose of you having this as a freestanding proposition
13 to have it voted on separately in the ballot?
14 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes, it is.
15 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: And not be merged into the
17 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Exactly. As I said, this is not
18 Cabinet reform.
19 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Some of us may differ with
20 you and we are now right at what the issue is and that is
22 COMMISSIONER RILEY: And I would strongly prefer this
23 to stand on its own as an educational measure and not as
24 an executive.
25 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I understand your desires,
1 but we have also got a limit on how much we can put on the
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills.
4 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, Mr. Chairman, and this
5 isn't in opposition, this is just in clarification. The
6 State Board of Education, Commissioner Jennings and
7 Commissioner Barnett and I have been trying to figure out
8 the relationship. It seems to me, the current Section 2
9 says, the Governor and the members of the Cabinet shall
10 constitute the State Board of Education. And it
11 supervises the system of public education.
12 So, the question is, is the system of public
13 education everything or only K through 12? And
14 Commissioner Jennings and I seem to recall that the
15 Cabinet has supervisory authority over issues besides K
16 through 12. I'm not even suggesting this is a bad idea,
17 I'm just trying to figure out what it does.
18 In other words, does this board -- if this board does
19 precisely the same thing as the current Board of Education
20 does -- which I guess much of that is statutory, there is
21 a good bit of oversight over lots of parts of the
22 educational system.
23 So there is definitely an answer to Commissioner
24 Henderson's question, which if this is to replace them,
25 but the question is -- if we are not going to define their
1 duties, then the question I guess remains only, what does
2 public education mean? And if public education means
3 something more than K through 12, then I -- I think we
4 would have to look at Section 1, which says, Adequate
5 provision shall be made by law for a uniform system of
6 free public schools, and for the establishment,
7 maintenance and operation of institutions of higher
8 learning and other public education programs.
9 So in the context of that alone it would seem it
10 would be all public education, I think, unless
11 Commissioner Riley may understand otherwise or may know
13 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I don't know otherwise, but it's
14 never been my understanding from either the proposal or
15 from the recommendations from the bodies that have looked
16 at the problem and put this forward. Have you?
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Somebody's clock rang.
18 Commissioner Marshall, that gong was for you. You are
20 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Thank you. I think public
21 education, as the term is used here, simply means K-12, or
22 pre-K-12. The only articulation relationship existing
23 that I know of in which the Cabinet is involved in either
24 the system of higher education, the state university
25 system, or the community college system is through the
1 commissioner who not only serves as a member of the
2 Cabinet but serves as a Regent and as a member of the
3 Community College Board.
4 I've never known of an instance when the Cabinet
5 intrudes on the business of the Board of Regents, the
6 state university system. And I think that's also true of
7 the community college system. So I think the working
8 definition of public education here is essentially
10 Other education functions would include the school in
11 St. Augustine for the deaf and blind, some vocational
12 education programs like Lively Tech here in town, in Leon
13 County. There are a number of special education programs,
14 school districts entering into contracts with education
15 vendors of various kinds, and that's overseen by the
16 Cabinet. There are a number of public education functions
17 related to K-12, but I don't think the Cabinet or the
18 commissioner -- excuse me, the Cabinet has any direct ties
19 to either the state university system or the community
20 college system.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills.
22 COMMISSIONER MILLS: A follow-up question in terms of
23 looking at this. Maybe Commissioner Marshall can help us.
24 It says, and it says in I guess the final version,
25 Shall have such supervision of the system of public
1 education as provided by law. And the only other public
2 education, use of public education is in Section 1. So
3 even if the current practice is so -- is limited, do you
4 believe that there would be a problem or that, in fact,
5 the Legislature would be authorized by this to accord
6 additional authority to the Board of Education relating to
7 higher education?
8 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: I would think so. I would
9 think it would be authorized to do that. Well, let me
10 stop there.
11 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Okay.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Let me ask you this, Mr. --
13 Commissioner Marshall and Commissioner Mills. My
14 recollection is that the Constitution authorizes the Board
15 of Education, in this present context, to have and has
16 jurisdiction over all of these if the, what's happened --
17 there's been statutory changes that don't affect the
18 jurisdiction necessarily, but do affect the procedural
19 operation of the school system, the whole school system.
20 And my recollection at one time was that the Cabinet
21 did exercise some supervisory capacity over higher
22 education, Commissioner Marshall, under this
23 constitutional provision.
24 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: You are testing my memory,
25 Mr. Chairman, but I think that's right and I think that
1 occurred in Ralph Turlington's time as Commissioner of
2 Education, because I remember wondering why he was letting
3 that get away. I think that's true.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So I think the question
5 Commissioner Henderson is raising, as is Commissioner
6 Mills, does the constitutional language being what it is,
7 assuming this proposal passed and that the Cabinet reform
8 did not, then how would that play off against each other
9 in the surviving Constitution? I think that is the
10 question that's being posed by those that are asking.
11 They are not necessarily against this, they just are
12 asking that.
13 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Mr. Chairman, I think you
14 need a good education lawyer for that one. I don't know
15 the answer to it. But while I'm on my feet, may I ask if
16 Commissioner Riley will yield for a question?
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes.
18 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: And the question has to do
19 with what I think is the lack of any coordination in the
20 structure that you have defined between the K-12 and the
21 state university system and the community college system.
22 The Commissioner of Education now does provide a measure
23 of that. And to the extent that he's influential on the
24 Cabinet, I suspect he brings other Cabinet members along
25 on that, on issues.
1 We now acknowledge that, people in education now
2 acknowledge that there is an enormous problem of lack of
3 articulation between K-12 and higher education. The
4 university presidents complain that they have a tough time
5 getting people through college because students come to
6 them so ill-prepared after graduation from high school.
7 And the K-12 people have similar complaints about their
8 lack of help and understanding from the state university
9 system, and feed the community college system in there
11 The system now isn't perfect by any means, but at
12 least the Commissioner of Education does have some
13 influence on the other two systems. Your provision
14 doesn't allow for that, and I am wondering if you would
15 consider that.
16 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Commissioner, I would be happy
17 to accept an amendment that solves that problem, that
18 would put the Commissioner of Education as a member of
19 both the Board of Regents and the Community College Board.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills.
21 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, we found that good
22 education lawyer, it is Commissioner Ford-Coates.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, I notice you now have a
24 laptop and that's always dangerous.
25 COMMISSIONER MILLS: She's probably going to make me
1 give it back though.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay.
3 COMMISSIONER MILLS: It says the state system of
4 public education. The state system of public education
5 shall consist of publicly-supported and controlled
6 schools, institutions of higher learning and other
7 educational institutions and other educational services as
8 may be provided or authorized by the Constitution or laws
9 of the state.
10 So the current definition in the statutes is pretty
11 broad. And, again, after having said that, I may be
12 perfectly willing to vote for and support it. It's just
13 that we ought to know -- what it could be, I suppose, is
14 coordinated with all of them.
15 (Off-the-record comment.)
16 COMMISSIONER MILLS: 228.041, Definitions.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That is what I thought I
18 remembered, Commissioner Marshall.
19 Where are we? Does anybody wish to speak?
20 Commissioner Barton.
21 COMMISSIONER BARTON: I rise for a question, and a
22 comment, if I may. It seems to me that in lieu of the
23 vote that we had just a little while ago that some people
24 might view this as a disenfranchisement of their right to
25 elect and I'm assuming that that would be true with the
1 larger population as well.
2 But my question is this, I have seen no data or
3 research which supports either this change as a catalyst
4 for higher student achievement, which I always assumed was
5 part of the function of schools. Can you answer that,
6 Commissioner Riley?
7 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I wish I had the comparison of
8 the charts that we were given at the last Education
9 Committee meeting that Commissioner Marshall brought in
10 comparing the state to the 22 states that do have an
11 appointed state board of education. So I apologize, I
12 don't have that.
13 COMMISSIONER BARTON: But wouldn't funding of
14 education be related to that as well? You know, not
15 whether one is elected or not elected. Florida has not
16 got a very good reputation as a funder of education.
17 COMMISSIONER RILEY: It may, but that's a separate --
18 COMMISSIONER BARTON: Or other children's issues as
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: It might, but that's a separate
21 issue than this proposal. Perhaps we will get into that
22 with the Lottery fund issue.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Anything further? All right.
24 Are you ready to vote? Open the machine and record the
1 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted but me? Lock
3 the machine and record the vote.
4 READING CLERK: Fourteen yeas and 12 nays,
5 Mr. Chairman.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well if it didn't get the vote,
7 it wasn't because we didn't give you the chance. It bodes
8 well however for the future of this.
9 All right. The next is Committee Substitute for
10 Proposal 69 by the Committee of Executive and Commissioner
12 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to
13 withdraw this proposal.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection it is
15 withdrawn. It is the same thing over again, almost.
16 All right. The next one is Committee Substitute for
17 Proposals 36 and 38 by the Committee on General
18 Provisions, recommended as a substitute combined with
19 Proposal 38, disapproved by the Committee on General
20 Provisions. Would you read it? Commissioner Mills.
21 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, we took the advice
22 of the committee to heart and are in the process of
23 redrafting that so we would appreciate that being
24 temporarily passed and we are working with Commissioner
25 Barnett and others to come up with something that makes
1 more sense.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It will be on special order
3 tomorrow morning first thing, if it is temporarily passed
4 without objection. It is.
5 All right. Committee Substitute for Proposal 102 by
6 the Committee on General Provisions and Commissioner
7 Henderson, recommended as a committee substitute and
8 approved by the Committee on General Provisions. Read it,
10 READING CLERK: Committee substitute for Proposal No.
11 102, a proposal to revise Article X, Florida Constitution;
12 adding Section 18 to provide restrictions on the
13 disposition of conservation and recreation lands.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Henderson.
15 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
16 Now that the -- I would suggest to my fellow commissioners
17 that now that you have taken the action to significantly
18 change the way that the Cabinet does business, that this
19 is something now that you must do.
20 In the provision that you just passed, you declared
21 that it was extremely important that the Cabinet still
22 retain its functions as Trustees of the Internal
23 Improvement Fund. And so what the provision is before you
24 is something that can only be done by Constitution, and it
25 involves how lands which have been acquired for
1 conservation purposes, such as under our current
2 Preservation 2000 program, how that can be disposed of.
3 The proposal would say that it can only be disposed
4 of by a two-thirds' vote of the trustees or the governing
5 board of the Water Management District, and a finding that
6 the lands are no longer needed for the purposes for which
7 they were acquired.
8 Now this did come out of the committee favorably. I
9 think it is consistent with the action that you just took
10 on the Cabinet. I also think it is extremely consistent
11 with the vote that was taken last time where we extended
12 the authority for acquisition of endangered lands. And I
13 would tell you that in keeping with that or consistent
14 with that argument, because there is a deadline or an
15 expiration date in the bonding of which we have now in the
16 Preservation 2000, that once the bonds are concluded, in
17 the year 2003, there is no protection for the lands that
18 we have acquired.
19 So we have acquired now almost a million acres of
20 land in the Preservation 2000, after the year 2003, unless
21 this is, unless this is adopted, there will be no
22 restriction on a future Cabinet or Water Management
23 District from disposition of those lands. Now this
24 proposal is not a complete restriction on the ability to
25 do that. It just says there has to be a two-thirds' vote
1 and there has to be a finding that the lands are no longer
2 needed for conservation purpose.
3 Now this issue is not in a vacuum. I tell you the
4 last year it seems that we have been fighting this battle
5 time and again. I won't revisit a number of these issues
6 before you, but the Cabinet has had a number of matters
7 before them in the last year, including whether or not to
8 build a prison at a place called Tate's Hell. I think
9 that might be a nice name for a prison anyway, but that's
10 in Franklin County.
11 Or whether or not to use a piece of Topsail Hill, the
12 lands acquired in Walton County, one of the most beautiful
13 places in the state of Florida, whether or not some of
14 those should be disposed of for the use of a new town
15 center in South Walton County. I can tell you that my
16 home county of Volusia County, adjacent to the Tiger Bay
17 State Forest, on lands which were acquired in the '70s
18 under the very first environmental endangered lands
19 program, is something called the Tomoka State Correction
20 Institution. And, in fact, you have to go through the
21 prison to get to the Tiger Bay State Forest.
22 So these issues are coming up time and again. And I
23 would suggest to you that this is something which does
24 command great public support. I can also suggest to you
25 that in every year that the Legislature passed extensions
1 of Preservation 2000, that legislators took the floor and
2 said what they thought was the truth, that when we passed
3 Preservation 2000 and we buy these lands, that we were
4 protecting them for future generations and forever. And
5 of course what we have discovered is that that's not
6 necessarily the case.
7 So, Mr. Chairman, this fixes that problem, it is
8 something that's good public policy, and it is a way for
9 us to keep faith with the people of the state. I suggest
10 to you it is a good proposal with a favorable
11 recommendation of the committee.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Butterworth.
13 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
14 Members of the Commission. This is a very good proposal.
15 It has come before the Cabinet a number of times and some
16 people were in doubt as to whether or not you can or
17 cannot sell the land. And many of us up there making
18 decisions believe that a lot of times when we buy land,
19 unfortunately we have to buy more than we need because the
20 willing seller says you must take this disturbed area and
21 at a point in time we might want to get rid of that.
22 This will allow us the procedure to get rid of it and
23 it protects the public from the standpoint of a
24 two-thirds' vote. I think it is a very good policy.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Six out of seven?
1 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Yes, Mr. Chairman. It has
2 been changed to two-thirds which is very realistic.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The summary still says --
4 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: The summary states --
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Beg your pardon?
6 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: The summary indicates a
7 change. It originally was six out of seven and the change
8 in the committee substitute is two-thirds.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It goes to two-thirds. And
10 that's what you are referring to here.
11 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Yes, Mr. Chairman,
12 two-thirds I think it is.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: My recollection is that when you
14 bought Topsail Hill, the Governor announced, and I think
15 you did too, that it was more than they should have bought
16 and they intended to sell part of it.
17 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: That was Point Washington,
18 Mr. Chairman. It was a unique situation. We bought it
19 from the RTC at the courthouse steps and they said, You
20 cannot buy this land unless we give you Point Washington,
21 19,000 acres, for free. It took the Cabinet about 13
22 seconds to decide that was a pretty good idea.
23 But we knew at that point in time that we would have
24 to give some back to the community, and that was pretty
25 much what we had to do. The only problem is whether we
1 could even do it or not. So in order to keep faith with
2 the community I think we did it, or we are about to do
3 some of it. But I do believe this will resolve a lot of
4 the problems for the future.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. So now this proposal
6 would be a two-thirds -- how many votes is that? Is that
7 of those present and voting?
8 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Two-thirds of seven, so
9 whatever that might be.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I should ask Commissioner
11 Barkdull, he is head of Rules. Is it of those present and
12 voting or of the actual membership?
13 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I haven't analyzed it from
14 that standpoint, but if the other proposal that we have
15 got on the ballot passes it is going to take the Governor
16 and one Cabinet member.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Commissioner Smith.
18 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have
19 a question of Commissioner Henderson.
20 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I yield, but only if it is a
21 friendly question. You have been quite friendly today,
22 but we have been disagreeable and that troubles me.
23 COMMISSIONER SMITH: A friendly disagreeable
24 question. I hope it is friendly because I want to
25 understand this.
1 I heard what you said and I heard what Commissioner
2 Butterworth said. And I'm trying to see just how
3 important this is. Tell me what you consider a worst-case
4 scenario if this doesn't pass so I can see just how
5 important it is.
6 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I think that's a fair
7 question and I apologize for sometimes being too
8 technical. I would suggest the situation that I alluded
9 to earlier is a good example. Tomoka State Correctional
10 Institute is now the entrance to the Tiger Bay State
11 Forest. After the year 2013, we will no longer have a
12 standard of protection of this inventory of lands that we
13 have bought for conservation purposes and told the public
14 we were buying for our children and our grandchildren and
15 in perpetuity.
16 And so some future Legislature can decide that that
17 piece of property might well be the site for that new
18 prison. Now what Commissioner Butterworth and I are
19 saying is what we are doing here today is setting, is
20 defining -- how do I say this -- is trying to solve a
21 couple of people's problems.
22 We want to agree on a procedure and a standard. And
23 that this procedure and standard are workable, because it
24 will give a future Governor and Cabinet and future -- what
25 are we going to call it now if it is only three -- the
1 future trustees and future members of governing boards of
2 Water Management Districts time to pause and say, Is this
3 property still for the purpose it was intended to be
4 acquired and protected?
5 And so this is one of those things that is going to
6 allow us to protect our inventory of lands for future
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. To whom did you address
9 the question, on what we are going to call it? Did
10 anybody answer it?
11 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, I
12 think I answered the question. In the proposal which is
13 adopted, it is still the trustees.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Very good. We were going to call
15 it the Henderson Memorial Group.
16 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I think, Mr. Chairman, you
17 can call it a smaller bumblebee and we will see whether or
18 not it flies.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And refer it to Commissioner
20 Smith for definitions.
21 Has anybody got anything on this? Commissioner
23 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Yes, Mr. Chairman, a question
24 for Commissioner Henderson. I guess it is not unfriendly
25 anyway. The language in the staff summary is a little bit
1 different from the language in the amendment itself. And
2 could you explain what is meant by, to look at the last
3 three sentences, three lines under the staff summary,
4 Dispose of lands acquired by those boards for conservation
5 and recreation purposes for any purposes other than the
6 purposes for which they were acquired by the Board of
7 Trustees of Water Management Districts?
8 I will tell you before you answer that I am not in
9 favor of anything that increases the power of the Water
10 Management Districts, for good reasons. So I'm concerned
11 about this stipulation about the purposes for which they
12 were acquired. To what extent is the judgment of the
13 Water Management Districts at issue here? Do I make
14 myself clear?
15 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I am a bit confused with the
16 question because I'm not sure which staff summary that you
17 are looking at. I couldn't find exactly what it is that
18 you are referring to.
19 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: The one at the top of Page 1,
20 under --
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: There has been another one I
22 think that -- the language you read I believe is on the
23 second page, if I'm not mistaken, where it says --
24 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Same question, committee
25 substitute, fine, thank you. Other than the purposes for
1 which they were acquired by the Board of Trustees of Water
2 Management Districts.
3 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I think I can answer your
4 question is that this in effect says that some future
5 Water Management District governing board can't go beyond
6 that decision that was made today.
7 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: I'm concerned with the
9 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I understand that. And so I
10 think this is a limitation on that authority, in effect.
11 I would answer it that way.
12 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Have lands been acquired by
13 Water Management Districts in the past other than for
14 strictly conservation and recreation purposes?
15 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I think that Water
16 Management Districts have acquired lands for water
17 storage, for restoration in the case of the Everglades,
18 for creation of reservoirs in the South Florida Water
19 Management District. There are other purposes, that is
21 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Thank you.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does that answer your question,
23 Commissioner Marshall?
24 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does anybody have anything
1 further? Proponent or opponent or questions? All right.
2 If not, we will proceed to vote. Unlock the machine.
3 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
6 READING CLERK: Twenty-three yeas and 3 nays,
7 Mr. Chairman.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It is adopted. Now we will move
9 to Committee Substitute for Proposal 83 by the Committee
10 on General Provisions. Would you read it? It is
11 recommended as a committee substitute and disapproved by
12 the Committee on General Provisions. Would you read it,
14 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
15 No. 83, a proposal to revise Article X, Section 6, Florida
16 Constitution; providing conditions under which private
17 property is assumed to be taken for a public purpose.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Anybody on the
19 committee present? Commissioner Anthony.
20 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Mr. Chairman, Commissioner
21 Corr is the sponsor of this legislation that came before
22 our committee. We did vote it unfavorable.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: What was the vote?
24 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: It was 3 to 1 unfavorable
25 recommendation. The Chair may want to consider TPing this
1 since, I'm not pushing to do either.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We have done that when people
3 weren't here, but I don't recall having any excused
4 absence in this case.
5 (Off-the-record discussion.)
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: They say he will be here tomorrow
7 and as a courtesy -- but, you know, we can't not take
8 things up when people aren't here, particularly when they
9 have a 3-to-1 negative vote in the committee. But we will
10 do it this time at your request without objection.
11 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Well don't use my favors on
12 this one, Mr. Chair.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So you used your favor when I put
14 you on that special --
16 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Correct, but if you would like
17 to take it up, I'm very --
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I don't want to be rude.
19 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Thank you.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull might and
21 it takes unanimous consents to TP it.
22 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, I guess this is
23 as good a time as any to make it known that we have taken
24 up other propositions when people weren't here and passed
25 and defeated them. This one we are going to pass until
1 tomorrow because Commissioner Corr is supposed to be here
2 and I'm not going to object, but I think from now on when
3 there is no excused absence by a member and we reach the
4 proposal, that this type of motion, at least I would
5 object to it as being out of order.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. But without objection
7 then it will be passed and put on the special order for
9 Proposal 123 by Commissioner Barkdull, please read
10 it, please. Wait a minute, it is approved by the
11 Committee on General Provisions, adopted as amended, and
12 committed to Style and Drafting on motion to reconsider by
13 Commissioner Scott. And the consideration was deferred.
14 So we passed it.
15 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Do you want me to explain it?
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes.
17 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: When it was before the
18 committee, it was a proposal to abolish the Tax and Budget
19 Commission. When it came before the floor, it was amended
20 to change the method by which the Tax and Budget
21 Commission votes out a proposal, which struck the awkward
22 language that's in there now, and I believe on an
23 amendment by Commissioner Butterworth it would now take a
24 two-thirds' vote of the Tax and Budget Commission to put
25 something on the ballot. And that is the posture that it
1 is in now.
2 And although I originally was for abolishment, as I
3 said at the time, this makes a better bad proposition out
4 of it and I will vote for it. And I recommend that the
5 commission vote for it. The impact is to do nothing but
6 to change the method of the vote of the Tax and Budget
7 Commission. It prevents four members of an appointing
8 body from stopping the action of 23 or 21 others of the
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett.
11 (Off-the-record comment.)
12 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Any four of an appointing
13 body, which is either the President of the Senate or the
14 Speaker of the House, which is the seven people they name.
15 So any four of that group can stop a proposal from going
16 on the ballot. Commissioner Barnett served on that
17 commission, and I think she recognizes that that was quite
18 a problem.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett.
20 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: The reason I am rising is to
21 ask the Chair to explain to me the posture of where we
22 are. What Commissioner Barkdull just described is the
23 proposal that we passed and that we then had reconsidered.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It is on reconsideration.
25 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: But what was the purpose for
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Somebody voted, moved to have it
3 reconsidered and it was carried over until today.
4 Somebody that voted with the prevailing side.
5 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: There is no proposed change on
6 the floor?
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No. The proposal as I understand
8 it as the one that was adopted is we retain the commission
9 and we deleted the provision that it took -- in other
10 words, four people could block the whole thing. And we
11 deleted that.
12 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: And that was the proposal that
13 I supported and I continue to strongly support this and
14 would urge you-all to vote in favor of this proposal.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Senator Scott made the motion to
16 reconsider and he is now here. Senator Scott, do you want
17 to be heard on this? This is the Tax and Budget
18 Commission. The original proposal was to abolish it, it
19 was amended so it wasn't abolished but it took -- it
20 deleted the requirement that we had to have a majority of
21 the appointing authorities' votes and you moved to
23 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: And we did reconsider the
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We have it on reconsideration.
1 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So at this time the motion would
2 be to reconsider Commissioner Barnett's amendment and then
3 we would be back, if it should pass, if this motion should
4 pass, then we would be back to the original proposal to
5 abolish the commission.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's correct. I so rule.
7 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So did anybody move to do that?
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, we were waiting on you to
9 make that motion.
10 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I move to reconsider the vote by
11 which Commissioner Barnett's amendment was adopted, which
12 had the effect of eliminating the original proposal.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Then we would go back to the
14 original -- if this should carry, in other words, if you
15 are successful, Commissioner Scott, then we would proceed
16 to vote on whether or not to abolish it. Is that the way
17 you understand it?
18 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Wouldn't it be easier,
19 Mr. Chairman, for Commissioner Scott simply to propose
20 that in the form of an amendment rather than to go back
21 and continue to reconsider all these votes so at least we
22 know what we are debating?
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I don't care how you get there.
24 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I move an amendment which would
25 have the effect of reversing, striking Commissioner
1 Barnett's amendment and that would then put it back to the
2 proposal to abolish the Tax and Budget Commission.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Which has passed. The proposal
4 passed. All right. What we are going to do is vote on
5 whether or not we continue with the proposal amendment,
6 which was to amend the proposal so that it continued as
7 the Tax and Budget Commission, but the amendment which did
8 that is under consideration on reconsideration and
9 includes the provision that it took four votes to
10 eliminate the provision, that it took four votes of each
12 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Can I make an inquiry? Is this
13 engrossed or not? So it has been engrossed and we need to
14 make a motion for an amendment to strike, strike the
15 language that, strike the substitute, strike the language
16 and go back to the original proposal.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: They are preparing an amendment
18 for you which they are going to lay on the table, somebody
19 is. Now we have completely confused everybody else, but I
20 think we know where we are. But -- so we will TP it and
21 then when the amendment is prepared, we will put it on the
22 table, have it read, and then you can explain it,
23 Commissioner Scott. Is that agreeable? Okay, without
24 objection we will TP it and move to the next item.
25 The next proposal is Committee Substitute for
1 Proposal 64 by the Committee on Bonding and Investments
2 and Commissioner Nabors. It is recommended as a committee
3 substitute and approved by the Committee on Bonding and
4 Investments. Read it, please.
5 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal 64,
6 a proposal to revise Article VII, Section 11, Florida
7 Constitution; providing for state bonds pledging all or
8 part of a dedicated state tax revenue or the full faith
9 and credit of the state for certain uses as provided by
10 general law.
11 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Mr. Chairman, since this is a
12 committee substitute, I don't think I can withdraw this,
13 but this is no longer needed.
14 Part of this provision had to do with the
15 Preservation 2000, which has already been adopted. The
16 other portion clarifies some language to allow bonds to be
17 issued, full faith credit bonds, for the construction of
18 school facilities, which we no longer really need anyway
19 because of the fact that the Legislature has already
20 operated and pledged the Lottery funds, we have other
21 issues dealing with Lottery.
22 So this just isn't needed, but I don't think I can
23 withdraw it on my own since it is a committee substitute.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Could I ask you a question --
25 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Uh-huh.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- Commissioner Nabors? The one
2 you are talking about that we did pass, which was the
3 Preservation 2000 thing, did it include a provision in it
4 that was not subject to the cap on pledging the full faith
5 and credit of the state that was in Section 1 of that part
6 of the Constitution? Did you eliminate the cap when we
7 passed the other proposal because this one does eliminate
8 a cap, this proposal does. Did you do that, it wasn't
9 explained that way but this is different.
10 COMMISSIONER NABORS: I think in the debate in the
11 Preservation 2000, that we had talked about that this was
12 a full faith and credit pledge. We had a big debate on
13 that. I can't remember exactly where we placed that. I
14 believe it was placed in the same provision, but I can't
15 recall unless I see that exact --
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The reason I raise that is when I
17 looked at what we did, it was implied or said in the
18 debate that we were, these bonds would be subject to the
19 limitations in the existing Constitution on how much could
20 be pledged to the full faith and credit of the state. And
21 it was a formula in Section 1, was it not? And then we
22 turned around and you offered this new section. And in
23 that section, it doesn't refer back to the cap.
24 And if that's true, then this one here is more
25 straightforward because it says we just waive, we can go
1 full faith and credit, pedal to the metal, all the way to
2 the end, without reference to the cap.
3 And is that what you did in the other proposal and we
4 didn't know it?
5 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
7 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I ask that the other proposal
8 be engrossed into the Constitution and received it and
9 what you have recited is adequate. The first section has
10 a cap in it and has it subject to the vote of the people,
11 where this section was included, which becomes number
12 three, I believe, there is no cap, there is no vote of the
14 I unfortunately do not have that engrossed copy with
15 me because I turned it over to staff counsel and asked
16 them to do some research for me on it.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well I would entertain a motion
18 to temporarily pass this provision until we study that
19 because we may want to use this as a vehicle to straighten
20 that other one out, because I don't think anybody thought
21 they were opening up the treasury without that cap when we
22 passed the other proposal. I am assuming that you
23 certainly didn't intend to do that, did you, Commissioner
24 Henderson? You don't know? It was your proposal.
25 (Off-the-record discussion.)
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Then without
2 objection we will TP it. The next proposal -- are we
3 ready on the one I passed back awhile ago? Not ready yet?
5 Proposal 187 by Commissioner Connor, disapproved by
6 the Committee on Declaration of Rights. Commissioner
7 Connor has left the room.
8 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, prior to
9 Commissioner Connor leaving and prior to our discussion on
10 the Corr proposal, which we made an announcement that
11 there would be no more temporarily passes, I had agreed
12 with Commissioner Connor that I would make a motion to
13 temporarily pass this until tomorrow morning in which he
14 will be here.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection it is
16 temporarily passed.
17 Proposal 183 -- whenever you get this one that we
18 just temporarily went over waiting for the amendment, let
19 me know so we will take that up. This one is by -- 183 by
20 Commissioner Brochin. It is referred to the Committee on
21 Legislative, but there was no quorum so it was calendared
22 without action. Would you read it, please?
23 READING CLERK: Proposal 183, a proposal to revise
24 the Florida Constitution providing that the Florida
25 Constitution Revision Commission should revise the
1 Constitution to allow certain constitutional provisions to
2 be converted into general law.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commission Brochin, you are
5 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: Yes, I would like to withdraw
6 Proposal No. 183.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, Proposal No.
8 183 is withdrawn.
9 Proposal 126 by Commissioners Mathis, Connor, Hawkes,
10 Evans and Alfonso, disapproved by the Committee on
11 Declaration of Rights. Would you read it, please?
12 READING CLERK: Proposal 126, a proposal to revise
13 Article I, Section 2, Florida Constitution; providing that
14 the basic rights of natural persons accrue at the point of
15 their conception and continue until their natural death.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Which of you wants to be
17 recognized? Commissioner Mathis, you have been very quiet
19 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: Yes, Mr. Chair. I talked to
20 Commissioner Barkdull and he has agreed to temporarily
21 pass these matters until tomorrow where we will have
22 information available and be able to fully consider this.
23 And that was done before we did the issue with
24 Commissioner Corr.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. So without objection,
1 it is temporarily passed.
2 The next proposal is No. 125 by Mathis, Connor,
3 Hawkes, Evans and Alfonso, disapproved by the Committee on
4 Declaration of Rights. Would you read it, please?
5 READING CLERK: Proposal 125, a proposal to revise
6 Article I, Section 2, Florida Constitution; providing that
7 born and unborn natural persons are equal before the law
8 and have inalienable rights.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mathis.
10 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: Same thing.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You want to TP this one, too?
12 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: Yes, sir.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, it is TP'd
14 until tomorrow.
15 Proposal 17 by Commissioner Riley. It was
16 disapproved by the Committee on Declaration of Rights,
17 referred to the Committee on Declaration of Rights again,
18 I guess, disapproved again. So it got a double
19 disapproval. Would you read it, please?
20 READING CLERK: Proposal 17, a proposal to revise
21 Article I, Section 2, Florida Constitution; providing that
22 no person shall be deprived of any right because of gender
23 or sexual orientation.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Riley.
25 COMMISSIONER RILEY: It was in fact disapproved the
1 second time, but just barely. I think the commissioners
2 should know that, by one.
3 There are certain questions that we have asked
4 ourselves periodically as we have gone through; is this a
5 constitutional matter; is it necessary; is there a cost to
6 it, and so forth. So let me start there.
7 And as we are doing this, as a matter of fact if I --
8 and excuse me, Commissioner, Mr. Chairman. I need to
9 amend this and take out gender, since that's already been
10 decided separately. So as that amendment is being done,
11 eliminating and deleting the term gender, if I may discuss
12 then just the sexual orientation portion.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: What are you proposing to do?
14 COMMISSIONER RILEY: What I am arguing is to leave
15 sexual orientation in as a protected class. The issue of
16 adding gender as a protected class has already been
17 decided last time we were here.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: By an amendment which we did
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And so now you want to limit this
22 to the sexual orientation --
23 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- language being included as a
25 protected class; is that right?
1 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Then go ahead. Go ahead. We
3 will treat it as if it is here for purposes of argument.
4 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Back to the questions that we
5 have asked on various issues; is it a constitutional
6 matter? My answer to that is, yes, it is. There is no
7 doubt and no one disputes the fact that there is
8 discrimination to people specifically because of their
9 sexual orientation and that is clear. The figures show
10 that and the percentages show that.
11 Is it necessary? I would again say, yes, that it is.
12 We have rights, civil rights acts, we have the Americans
13 with Disabilities Act, the ADA act, all of those address
14 specific areas and try to override discrimination.
15 There is nothing that prevents discrimination based
16 upon sexual orientation and this is an opportunity to do
17 something about that. The reason it was brought back to
18 the committee is because the members of the committee
19 understand that there is a problem that needs to be
21 There is nothing that prevents anyone from
22 discriminating against a person because of sexual
23 orientation either in their employment, in the place where
24 they live. There is nothing that says that they can't be
25 fired, that they cannot rent an apartment because of the
1 way they may look.
2 A 1992 survey of about 1500 gay and lesbians reported
3 that 76 percent of men and 81 percent of women hide their
4 sexual orientation simply because they know that given
5 that, they will be discriminated against. So I would ask
6 you to strongly consider that we give some protection to a
7 group of people that are very vulnerable.
8 And I would like to read a few things that were sent
9 to me in a letter, you may all have gotten a copy of it.
10 It is not signed because the person was afraid to put
11 their name on it. It is from --
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment is on the table.
13 Would you read the amendment?
14 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Riley, on Page 1,
15 Line 21, delete gender.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. She has deleted
17 gender from this and it is left now to the sexual
18 orientation that she is now discussing. All in favor of
19 the amendment, say aye; opposed?
20 (Verbal vote taken.)
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It carries. Now proceed on the
22 argument on the proposal which has been read.
23 COMMISSIONER RILEY: If I may just close by reading
24 the words of a person from Tallahassee. I don't know if
25 it is male or female. All I know is that the person is a
1 homosexual and that the person was afraid to write their
2 name on here, they were afraid to tell us who they were
3 because they are a professional in the city of
4 Tallahassee, and they are afraid of the repercussions.
5 And this person writes that this issue is about
6 principle, it is not politics, not religion, not
7 superiority, not perversion and not finance. This issue
8 invokes whether or not we embrace principles of integrity,
9 fairness, tolerance, and decency and whether we continue
10 to turn our heads and therefore condone outright
11 discrimination and prejudice.
12 I would suggest to you that we have an opportunity
13 now to tell those out there who are in fact hurt and
14 discriminated against that we support them and that we
15 think that they should be protected in our Constitution.
16 They are not now and this will be an opportunity to do
17 that. Thank you.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Freidin wants to be
19 heard on this. And I'm going to recognize her first,
20 Commissioner Smith, because she has -- just a moment,
21 Commissioner Barkdull -- she has a request I think.
22 COMMISSIONER FREIDEN: Mr. Chairman and
23 Commissioners, I would request that we temporarily pass
24 this issue until tomorrow morning. I know that there's
25 other business that we do need to take up this afternoon.
1 I also notice that, as I look up to the press box, that it
2 is a lot emptier than it usually is, although there's some
3 very fine members of the press that are still there.
4 And I think that this is a very, very important issue
5 for our state and I would like for the people who care
6 deeply about this issue in our state, to know about the
7 debate that we are going to have on this issue. I would
8 request that we postpone further discussion of this issue
9 until tomorrow morning.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'll treat that as a motion to
11 temporarily pass this until tomorrow morning. Without
12 objection, it'll be temporarily passed. All right. It is
13 temporarily passed until tomorrow morning.
14 Now, we are ready to do 123. We have the amendment.
15 Commissioner Barkdull, you want to be recognized first.
16 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, I would like to move
17 that the time of adjournment be postponed until the
18 conclusion of the discussion on this proposal that Senator
19 Scott has the amendment on, Proposal 123, I believe, and
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, you want to continue it
22 until the vote, don't you?
23 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, sir, until it is
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, that will be
1 the case.
2 And, Commissioner Scott, you are recognized on
3 Proposal 123 with an amendment on the table. Would you
4 read the amendment?
5 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Scott, delete
6 everything after the proposing clause and insert Section
7 1, Section 6, of Article XI of the Florida Constitution is
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Commissioner Scott, on the
10 amendment, please.
11 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay. In view of Judge
12 Barkdull's motion, I want to make this short and sweet,
14 Look, the Tax Commission is supposed to meet again in
15 two or three years, they have direct access to the ballot.
16 I think that this creates, among other things, too much
17 confusion, too much hesitancy about economic development
18 in this state. I have spent a lot of time in the past two
19 or three years talking to people about what might or might
20 not happen just in the Legislature. To have this group
21 sitting out there is just not a good thing.
22 We are here, we put -- I helped put or sponsored an
23 amendment so that these tax issues that Commissioner
24 Nabors and others were raising could be brought before
25 this commission. And we all now, having been here awhile,
1 see how much deliberation and what we are all about.
2 And to have all of this come back again and have
3 anything from personal income tax and others rediscussed
4 here in another couple of years by another group of people
5 who we have no idea who they will be, to me is just not a
6 good idea. Originally this came about about six or eight,
7 ten years ago when Bob Crawford was president, I remember
8 that. And it was put forth as something that would be
9 good to have, a separate commission look at tax reform.
10 But now to have them back here again in the year 2000
11 or 2001, Judge Barkdull's original proposal would have
12 abolished them. I don't disagree with the change, if they
13 were going to keep them, that Commissioner Barnett made
14 about not having each appointing authority having a
15 supermajority. But we really should go ahead and abolish
16 this commission.
17 And that's what this amendment will have the affect
18 of doing and that would become the proposal.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does everybody understand this?
20 If we adopt the amendment, then we have abolished or
21 proposed the abolition of the Tax and Budget Commission.
22 Am I correct, Commissioner Scott?
23 Now are there any proponents other than Commissioner
24 Barnett? Are you on the commission? Were you on the
1 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Yes, I was.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you want to be recognized?
3 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Uh-huh.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Go ahead.
5 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Unless there are any more
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, they may show up after your
9 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I know it. I should sit down
10 while I'm ahead, maybe.
11 I want to urge you to vote against Commissioner
12 Scott's proposal. I did serve on the Tax and Budget
13 Reform Commission, and found it, as I shared with you-all
14 the last time, very frustrating in some respects. But my
15 frustration came not from the substance and the quality of
16 the debate and the deliberation and the public input, it
17 came from the voting process, which is cumbersome and made
18 it very, very difficult for our group to be successful.
19 You had to have a majority vote, a supermajority vote
20 of the whole group and a majority of the members of each
21 appointing, of the group appointed by each appointing
22 officer. So my amendment was an effort to eliminate that
23 voting process.
24 Let me tell you why I think it's important to have
25 the Tax and Budget Reform Commission. It is designed to
1 meet in the year 2000; it meets every ten years. It came
2 about as a result of a legislative referendum. This was
3 proposed by the Legislature to give a group of citizens,
4 not unlike us, an opportunity to address not just the tax
5 system of the state of Florida, but the budget system.
6 And you need to take a look at the jurisdiction of
7 this commission. It deals with things like
8 accountability, efficiency and a look at the whole revenue
9 structure. Now we have heard in our public testimony, I
10 think many people believe that for a state like Florida,
11 our tax system needs constant review. And I think it is
12 going to take a commission of people who do nothing but
13 study the revenue structure and the budgeting spending
14 process of this state to really come up and suggest some
15 comprehensive, coordinated changes that will take our
16 state into the millennium.
17 It will meet in 2000, and we do need to address the
18 revenue structure of this state. We have enough money
19 now, no question we do, but we are stressing various
20 aspects of our revenue system. And we need to continually
21 monitor the spending practices of state government.
22 Now people are doing a very good job of that. I
23 think the last couple of years we have seen government get
24 more accountable, more concerned about the spending side,
25 accountable to the people. I think some of that is an
1 attribute of the Tax and Budget Reform Commission. There
2 were a number of changes adopted that dealt with the
3 budgeting process, the spending process, not just the tax
4 side. And that is an important function.
5 As good as our Tax Committee is and as good of a
6 chair as Commissioner Scott has been of our Tax Committee,
7 of this citizens' commission, we simply have not had the
8 time to really give a comprehensive look at our revenue
9 and budget system. And I think this is an area that
10 deserves a special commission for that.
11 One aspect of this group that's interesting is that
12 it specifies in the Constitution that the Tax and Budget
13 Reform Commissions can certainly put things on the ballot.
14 But it also reports and makes recommendations to the
15 Legislature for statutory changes. So it's not a
16 statutory initiative, but it's similar to what we are
17 hearing people talk about in terms of trying to get the
18 Legislature to act.
19 It gives them constitutional authority to place
20 things on the ballot. But an important aspect of it is it
21 says, Go to the Legislature with recommended statutory
22 changes. And, frankly, those were the changes that -- the
23 Legislature did adopt some. They rejected many, but they
24 did adopt some. And I think those things have been
25 positive. Things like making sure that legislators had a
1 copy of the budget on their desks before they had to vote
2 on it. That's just one of the things that came out of the
4 So I would urge you to vote against Commissioner
5 Scott and to keep this commission in place, but with a
6 more realistic procedure for voting.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Smith.
8 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you. Would Commissioner
9 Barnett yield for a question?
10 You have just about convinced me, but I didn't hear
11 you address what I consider to be the main concern of
12 Commissioner Scott. I haven't heard a lot of questions or
13 concerns about the budgetary aspect of it, questions about
14 the tax aspect of it which we all share.
15 And what is your view of Commissioner Scott's
16 observation that having this commission meeting as it is
17 required to meet causes a dampening of investment and
18 infusion of capital with the concern that, you know, in a
19 couple of years we don't know what may come out of this.
20 What's your view? First, do you share that view? And
21 secondly, if so, how does it balance out with the other
22 positive benefits?
23 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I do not share that view. I
24 do not share Commissioner Scott's view on that. The
25 business community that I'm involved in on a regular basis
1 is more concerned about some aspects of our tax structure
2 today than they are about possible uncertainty. It's
3 always up -- the Legislature always has the opportunity to
4 change the tax structure of Florida. Unless there are
5 constitutional limits on it.
6 The business community -- and I think our tax
7 structure has had an impact on economic development in
8 this state, if only in that we have had a structure that
9 really is not designed for the next century and it has
10 limited our ability to invest in things like human
11 capital. It's limited some of our educational
13 The level of education and the type of work force we
14 offer the business community has far more impact on their
15 willingness and ability -- their willingness to relocate
16 to Florida than the fact that some commission might change
17 their taxes. They always know that. I mean, they always
18 know that a Legislature may or may not change their taxes.
19 I think it is the things that we have not been able
20 to do to attract business that is a direct result,
21 sometimes, of our revenue structure that has had a more
22 negative impact on our state in economic development.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Anyone else want to
24 speak to this? Does everybody understand what this does?
25 Commissioner Scott to close.
1 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Just briefly, and I don't know
2 that this is the biggest thing in the world -- and by the
3 way, let me just say that the prior commission, if all of
4 the members of a new commission were like Commissioner
5 Barnett, that would be great with me, other than a couple
6 of proposals she's made lately.
8 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Let me just say that you really
9 need to think about whether you want the Constitution --
10 even the Constitution Revision Commission is every 20
11 years. Now this group would be meeting again in two
12 years. I don't think that anybody that would be listening
13 in the business world would think that it is a good thing
14 to have -- let's just take an example for the members of
15 the Finance and Tax Committee.
16 This leasehold, which all of you are going to be
17 hearing a lot about in the next couple of weeks, we have
18 had meeting after meeting, we have had various ideas, it's
19 very complicated. And just that one issue alone, to have
20 that issue go back to another group of citizens, after all
21 of the work that Marilyn Evans-Jones and several others,
22 Commissioners Hawkes and Anthony and on and on have put
23 in, I mean, it just -- I don't think it is a good idea.
24 I do know -- and I've talked to a lot of people and
25 Governor Chiles and I, and I know President Jennings, I've
1 been trying to assure them of some stability of what's
2 going to happen with everything from their accounts
3 receivable, and they are taxable or not taxable and
5 So I just think that we have got the initiative
6 process, we have got the Legislature meeting every year.
7 I don't think to have another group come up and spend
8 whatever time -- and as far as the budget process, let me
9 make a couple of comments here. They did suggest some
10 things, they are things that generally we tried to do.
11 They put them in the Constitution, we are having to fix a
12 couple of them now due to drafting errors. But I really
13 think that that's solved. I think that commission did
14 fine. I just don't think we need another one two years
15 from now.
16 I would urge you to vote yes on this amendment, which
17 would have the affect of abolishing it.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Let's prepare to vote. Open the
19 machine. A vote for this would -- Senator Scott's
20 amendment, the effect of this, Senator Scott, is to
21 abolish. So if you want to abolish it, you vote yes.
22 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Lock the machine and
24 announce the vote.
25 READING CLERK: Fifteen yeas and 12 nays,
1 Mr. Chairman.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So we have to turn around and
3 vote again now on the proposal as amended, which abolishes
4 the Tax and Budget Commission. So now you get to vote
5 again. If you are for abolition, vote yes. If not, vote
6 no. Open the machine and we'll vote again. Yes,
7 Commissioner Smith.
8 COMMISSIONER SMITH: It won't make any difference,
9 but I voted the wrong way on the last.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well you've got a shot here,
12 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Can I change my last vote? It
13 won't change the vote. It will be 14-13.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You can change it.
15 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you. I meant to vote no.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Maybe I ought to announce the
17 vote. I'm not so sure that doesn't take unanimous
18 consent. Anyway, we are going to let you do that.
19 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted? Lock the
21 machine and announce the vote.
22 READING CLERK: Fifteen yeas and 12 nays,
23 Mr. Chairman.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It came out the same way,
25 Commissioner Smith. By your vote, you have adopted the
1 proposal, which was as it was originally, I think, was it
2 not? Okay.
3 We have announcements now, so sit tight, because the
4 Rules Committee has to announce some meetings.
5 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Immediately following
6 adjournment, the Rules Committee will meet in Room 309,
7 which is one floor down and behind where the rostrum would
9 Sovereign Immunity is going to meet at noon on
10 Wednesday, Commissioner Connor indicated to me.
11 Commissioner Mills is here and Style and Drafting is going
12 to meet --
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills.
14 COMMISSIONER MILLS: 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning in a
15 room to be announced.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning,
18 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: We will find a room for them.
19 And we have to find one for --
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Somebody's hotel room probably.
21 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: No, here somewhere. We'll
22 announce it tomorrow.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Very well.
24 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I want to remind
25 commissioners, anybody that's got any withdrawals they
1 want to make, any proposals that are on the calendar to
2 withdraw them.
3 Not seeing any, I have no other announcements and I'm
4 ready to move --
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you have a Rules Committee
6 meeting following this meeting?
7 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, sir, immediately upon
8 adjournment in Room 309.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. If there's nothing
10 further, we'll reconvene in the morning at 9:00 a.m., not
11 at 8:30, but at 9:00. Just a minute. Commissioner
13 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Commissioner Marshall wants
14 to withdraw Proposal 129.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: What is that, Commissioner
17 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Relates to sports authority
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Without objection,
20 Proposal No. 129 is withdrawn on the motion of
21 Commissioner Marshall.
22 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I now move that we recess
23 until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We'll see you in the
1 (Session adjourned at 6:10 p.m.)
2 STATE OF FLORIDA:
3 COUNTY OF LEON:
WE, JULIE L. DOHERTY, KRISTEN L. BENTLEY and
5 MONA L. WHIDDON, Court Reporters, certify that we were
authorized to and did stenographically report the foregoing
6 proceedings and that the transcript is a true and complete
record of our stenographic notes.
8 DATED this ______ day of ____________, 1998.
11 JULIE L. DOHERTY, RPR
KRISTEN L. BENTLEY
16 MONA L. WHIDDON
17 Division of Administrative Hearings
1230 Apalachee Parkway
18 Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3060
(850) 488-9675 Suncom 278-9675
19 Fax Filing (850) 921-6847